As parents, Jenny and Jodi are yin and yang. Raising their 13-year-old daughter, Morgan, has been a wild ride for these two Colorado lawyers.
“Fortunately, we agree on most major parenting issues and share priorities,” Jenny said. “Jodi can bring patience and I can be more empathetic. And where I tend to worry and fall into overprotective mode, Jodi is more apt to take an empowering approach. We seem to do pretty well mostly because we naturally balance our approaches.”
There’s nothing more important to Jenny and Jodi than building a strong family. The three of them love to go on hikes, spend time with friends and family, cook together, and read books as a family. “We always have a novel that we’re reading together,” Jenny said. “We are avid readers, and it’s a great way to spend time with Morgan while developing her education.”
Jenny and Jodi are totally invested in Morgan’s future–but one thing is holding them back from being able to provide for her and protect her fully. Since Colorado does not offer the freedom to marry to gay and lesbian couples, Jenny and Jodi are only able to join in a civil union—which means they are denied the critical protections and respect that only marriage can ensure.
“Because we are unable to marry each other, we feel like we are prevented from affirming our commitment and demonstrating to our daughter the positive values of commitment and responsibility through marriage,” Jodi explained. “We also face added struggles in trying to protect our daughter, as the laws that provide such protections are not readily available to us. There is literally no other legal relationship that is given the same amount of respect as marriage – both in social settings and under the law. It’s significant that we don’t just want the protections marriage provides, we also want to be responsible for each other and our child.”
Jenny and Jodi also worry about the impact that Colorado’s marriage ban has on Morgan.
“Our daughter has said that her parents not being allowed to get married makes her feel like people don’t see her family as a real family,” Jenny said. “I think it makes her feel inferior as well. Children are integral parts of the very families the law indicates are lesser than. In their eyes, the only message being received is that it is acceptable to treat people differently simply because one part of society doesn’t like them. I can’t imagine why that would ever be considered a healthy message for any child.”
This Mother’s Day, moms like Jenny and Jodi are lifting their voices to show why marriage matters to their family and the tens of thousands of gay and lesbian Coloradans who are denied the freedom to marry. All moms deserve the peace of mind to know that, no matter what, they can fully protect their children when it matters most, and the only thing that makes that possible is the freedom to marry here in Colorado.
Jenny and Jodi Martin live in Louisville with their daughter Morgan. Together, they own a law firm in Boulder.