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Video puts Santa Rosa 7th-grader in same-sex marriage spotlight

  • Daniel Leffew, right, 12, with his parents Bryan and Jay Leffew and sister Selena Leffew, 8, wrote to Justice John Roberts about his experience of being adopted by a same-sex couple. Daniel Leffew read the letter at San Francisco City Hall on Monday night, March 25, 2013.

    (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)

Daniel Martinez-Leffew, a Santa Rosa seventh-grader, never imagined that his four-minute video would score a hit on YouTube with more than 200,000 views, earning him interviews on CNN, MSNBC and other media outlets.

"I thought it would be a little hit-and-run video," Daniel, 12, said Monday afternoon, hours before addressing a crowd at a gay rights rally in front of San Francisco City Hall.

But his topic -- the U.S. Supreme Court's hearings this week on two major same-sex marriage cases -- and Daniel's status -- an adopted son of two married gay men -- put him in a national spotlight.

In most of the video, Daniel read a letter he sent last week to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, urging him -- as a parent of two adopted children himself -- to vote for marriage equality.

"If Prop 8 is allowed to stand, imagine the pain we would feel knowing that we are not considered equal to everyone else," the letter said.

The high court is scheduled to hear arguments today on Proposition 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage, followed by a case challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act on Wednesday.

The court's rulings are expected in June.

A Healdsburg winemaker, John Holdredge, joined legal arguments against both measures, and Santa Rosa Bishop Robert Vasa articulated the Catholic Church's arguments against homosexual marriage.

"Our family is the same as any other family," Daniel said Monday in a telephone interview from San Francisco, where he spent the day with his fathers and sister.

At school, he said, other students know he has two fathers and "it's not an issue at all."


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