Most 12-year-old kids might spend their free time watching TV or hanging out with friends. But not Daniel Martinez-Leffew.
The northern California boy wrote a heartfelt and emotional letter to Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, urging him to strike down Proposition 8 and embrace gay marriage. Martinez-Leffew, who was adopted when he was 5 years old by two gay dads, says he was inspired to write to Justice Roberts after he found out Roberts had two adopted children — just like him and his sister.
But the most poignant moment comes 1 minute, 20 seconds into the video. Martinez-Leffew says he was considered “unadoptable” by the foster care agency because of his genetic disorder, Goldenhar Syndrome, which affects the left side of his body.
Martinez-Leffew recalls that once his dads Bryan and Jay came along and adopted him, everything changed for the better.
“I knew everything they said was a lie, and I felt a lot better,” he says. “Family is thicker than blood. It’s not just the people that you’re born with, it’s the people who care about you and love you. Because anyone can have a kid.”
It was this message that Martinez-Leffew felt he just had to get across to Justice Roberts ahead of important Supreme Court deliberations on marriage equality. The Supreme Court is expected to take up Proposition 8, which bans same sex marriage in California, and the Defense of Marriage Act next week on March 26th.
Martinez-Leffew says that the idea for the video came up during conversation around the dinner table.
“My dad told me how he [Justice Roberts] had two adopted kids like me and my sister and I thought it would be a really great idea to write a letter to him,” he recalls.
Bryan Leffew, Martinez-Leffew’s father who appears in the video with him, says that conversation was sparked after National Organization for Marriage leader John Eastman called Justice Roberts’ decision to adopt a “second-best option.”
“We were ticked off at some comments that had been made about adoption. The National Organization for Marriage called adoption a second-best option, so that’s what brought up Justice Roberts and his family,” Leffew says. “Something just hit home for Daniel and he decided to write the letter. It took him about a day to write. We went through and read what he wrote and were blown away.”
The video was posted on Bryan Leffew and Jay Foxworthy’s blog, GayFamilyValues, which they started with the mission of showing that their family was like any other. The idea for the blog came about when Bryan and Jay realized that the slew of commercials for and against Prop 8 left out the perspective of real gay couples and families. Now, their website features hundreds of videos chronicling their life as a family with two gay fathers.
“The best thing would be for people to realize that two people of the same sex is not something that’s scary. It’s two people falling in love, which a lot of people do everyday. We want people to see that our kids will grow and thrive just like everybody else’s kids do,” Leffew says.
The videos have gotten a tremendous response, with most videos on the site getting around a few thousand views each. But Martinez-Leffew’s video has been by far the most successful with over 150,000 views in just four days. But even the Leffews were shocked by one of their biggest fans: Puerto Rican superstar Ricky Martin.
“The really cool thing that’s happened to us so far is that Ricky Martin followed us on Twitter. I remember hearing my dad scream from the other room,” Martinez-Leffew says.
— Ricky Martin (@ricky_martin) March 20, 2013
Martinez-Leffew and the rest of the family will be eagerly awaiting the Supreme Court decision on Prop 8. In the meantime, Martinez-Leffew isn’t letting all the attention get to him. All the aspiring chef wants out of his video is for Roberts to see that the Supreme Court decision will affect families like his.
“I hope he makes the right decision in the end and sees that my family is a lot like his.”