A while back I read an article that fascinated me and has stayed in my mind. It was about a lesbian living in Tennessee who went through the process of adopting a child. It seems that the state allows a single woman to do this but forbids a lesbian couple from doing so. This seemed so patently illogical that I read the piece several times to be sure I understood what it was saying. The author found out about this conundrum when she heard of a lesbian couple who were married and financially secure (one was a college professor and the other some kind of computer expert) were told they could not apply for adoption.

The reason, seemingly stated with no hesitation, was this: “Y’all do not mirror the Holy Family.” After recovering from loud laughter, I decided to think hard and deeply about that two-some. We have the young Mary who is engaged to Joseph, who is considerably older than she. He has assumed she is a virgin, of course, so is startled, dismayed, and confused when she tells him she is pregnant. He is not the father, she assures him. Indeed no human male is the father. An angel has visited her with a long-stemmed lily handed to her as she is told she is to be the mother of God’s only begotten son.

What is Joseph to do, I ask myself. Most men would have rejected their bride-to-be, seeing her as “damaged goods” at the very least. But Joseph carries on and they are wed. In due time, the baby boy is born and begins a relatively short life before becoming the founder of one of the world’s major religions. And things don’t end with Joseph’s good heartedness because another angel comes to warn them to flee their home because Herod will soon order his troops to find this baby and kill him. So the brand new mother packs a few necessities, I assume, and they set off, fearing to try and stay at regular sleeping places and ending up in that famous manger. The Holy Family spends time in a barn with at least one ox and one cow so they can rest before completing their journey to temporary safety.

So the Holy Family that the professional lesbian couple does not “mirror” is comprised of a woman pregnant out of wedlock, who starts life with no security or peace of mind, sheltering with her broad-minded husband in a cold outdoor place with some kindly livestock.