A stay at home mommy moved in with two gay men and their four adopted sons as "30 Days" explored the issue of same-sex parenting. "Would she find out that dad and dad are no different than mom and dad?" host Morgan Spurlock wondered. Or would she leave with her traditional, heterosexual family values intact?
Kati, a 40-year-old housewife from Orange County, Calif., held firm to her belief that a man and a woman should raise children. She was adopted and strongly supports adoption, but doesn't believe gay people should raise children. Tom and Dennis of Ann Arbor, Mich., are raising four adopted boys who were all foster children before the men adopted them. Kati took her mission on as a test of whether she could stand true to what she believed in.
For 30 days, she's follow these three rules: she'd have to live with the gay couple and their four adopted sons; she'd immerse herself in the gay community and attend same-sex family events; and she'd have to work with gays and lesbians who are fighting for equal rights for their families.
Day 1: Upon her arrival, Kati found Tom and Dennis to be warm and welcoming, and before dinner had been served she said she felt better than she expected to. At dinner, Dennis asked Kati if she believed that no home was better than their home and she said, flatly, that she just doesn't believe gays and lesbians should be able to adopt.
Day 2: Dennis prepared his kids for the first day of school, and Kati watched as Dennis told his 6-year-old son that he'd have to decide what he wants to tell new kids at the school about having two dads. Kati was appalled over that kind of decision being placed on such a young child. That night, Kati said she saw that Dennis and Tom were loving parents, but that there's "an icky factor" about the whole situation.
Arguments against it: Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council argued that kids raised in gay households have higher rates of sexual promiscuity, drug abuse and sexual abuse, among other things, and he said that was a reason to fight against gay couples raising children. Dawn Stefanowicz, an author who wrote a book about being raised by a gay father, said she was scarred by her dad's openness about sex. She said she repressed her thoughts and was cautious about who she brought home and she said it created "sexuality confusion."
Sunday morning: Kati visited Tom and Dennis' church, which accepted gay and lesbian families. She said she couldn't go along with a "do anything you want" type of church where there were no rules. Later, Kati and Tom debated about whose ideals were stepping on the other's. Tom said Kati's belief steps on him because she's trying to pass laws that stop him from adopting. She tried to argue the opposite, saying his belief steps on her because it "goes against my moral fiber." "So I stand up for what I believe and I vote for what I believe, and you work for what you believe, and we'll see who wins," Kati said. Tom later said that up until that conversation, he felt like he was living with a stranger. But after it, he felt like he was living with the enemy.
Makin' babies: Human anatomy wins out when gay couples try to conceive on their own, so Spurlock took a quick tour of a sperm back in San Francisco to see how that process works. A prospective mother gets to check out a stat sheet on the donors before selecting the sperm she wants to use, and pays $300 per vial of sperm. It usually takes six to 12 vials to get the job done. The donors get paid $80 to $100 per donation, and they can make a deposit -- so to speak -- twice a week. That's $9600 a year, "doing what I do already," Spurlock said. "God Bless America. This is the best country ever."
Kati C.A.R.E.s: Kati started working for C.A.R.E., an advocacy group fighting for the rights of gay couples. Kati said she was "enraged" on the inside by having to advocate for something she disagreed with. After two weeks, Tom and Dennis appeared to be feeling the strain of having Kati around. She, too, felt the strain, because she was constantly having to defend herself.
Barbecue time!: "I am off to go meet a whole bunch of lesbians and their kids and ... try to appear happy," Kati said on her way to a barbecue. At the barbecue, Kati got into an exchange with an older woman who challenge Kati on her stance and said that she was very personally affected by Kati's position of taking rights away from her. Kati broke down, cried and later said it was "really hard" because it caused her to dig deep down inside. She realized that "there's an army of people trying to do the opposite of what you're trying to do, and it makes me sad."
Is it wrong? Kati headed into Detroit to see what might have happened to Tom and Dennis' foster kids if they'd never been adopted. One of the advocates there told her they don't discriminate because foster kids get moved around from shelf to shelf. "We need families," he told her. He took her on a tour of some of Detroit's roughest neighborhoods, which she agreed was "unfair." She again said she still believed gay people shouldn't be parents, but questioned whether she was right. "But, I don't know if I'm right. I mean, I think I'm right," she said.
Tom and Dennis hosted a barbecue that included the biological family of one of their kids, Josh. They all told her they were happier that Josh was living with Tom and Dennis, even though they had some reservations at first. After another heated exchange, she stormed out of the conversation and went back into the house. She refused to give up her position, because she couldn't "physically, mentally, emotionally going against God, and I will not do that."
Near the end of her 30 days, Kati reflected on her experience. She said, even though she adores Tom and Dennis, she still doesn't think gays and lesbians should be parents. Dennis said he understands her disagreement, but said he hoped that her disagreement wouldn't turn to action against them and others like them. On their final night, Dennis told Kati that her position that calls what he does a sin is something that won't allow them to continue to be friends. Kati said she couldn't give up her beliefs and got up and left. She said she was sad that they couldn't be friends. She said she'd learned that it was really important to explore the values and ideas of people that she doesn't agree with.