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Maurine Proctor
Friday, June 28 2013

13 Year Old Speaks Up for Need for Mom and Dad at Marriage Celebration

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Photos by Scot Facer Proctor

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On the day that the Supreme Court announced its marriage decisions, considered dismal by advocates of the natural family, many Utahns gathered for a marriage celebration, affirming that they will continue to stand strong.

In a program, emceed by Richard Eyre, and highlighted with a speech by prominent historian, David Barton, the most celebrated moment centered on performer Alex Boye’s new song about having “the heart of a lion.” With a performer’s flare and high emotion, he said that it takes the heart of a lion to “be true to myself, true to my origins, true to my beliefs.”

Then to underscore what the heart of a lion feels like, he called to the stage 13-year-old Amelia Summerhays, who had just given a bold speech about why she needs a mom and a dad.


She had given a similar speech in March at a Celebration of Marriage when the Supreme Court heard the oral arguments in the marriage cases—and had been peppered with names and verbal abuse on Facebook for her stand.

Alex said she had shown the heart of a lion and through tears said why family is so important to him.

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He grew up not knowing who his father was and kicked out of his home to live on the streets when he was 16. He wept telling the story about the first time he was asked to share a dinner with a family—that had a closely-tied mother and father and children. That night he vowed that he would marry and have a relationship that had no back door and that he would have children. “Most people think that black men don’t make that kind of commitment, but that’s not true,” he said. Deciding to marry and have a family has been his joy.

Here is Amelia’s speech Wednesday night at the Celebration of Marriage:

When I was eight or nine, I had a close friend whose parents were getting divorced. She asked me, “If you had to give up one parent, which would you choose?” I could not decide. My mom and dad both have their strengths and weaknesses, but when it comes down to it, I need both parents.

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As a thirteen-year-old, it’s funny to watch adults fight about the issue of marriage. Sometimes adults act like selfish children. Most of what we heard [Wednesday] on the steps of the Supreme Court was all about adult’s marriage rights. From what I heard, children’s rights were basically ignored. Children are defenseless, so shouldn’t they be the main focus of the debate? When we favor the wants of consenting adults over the needs of children who cannot consent, something is very wrong.

Children shouldn’t be separated from their parents without a very good reason. When a child is separated from a parent through death or divorce, it is a tragedy that changes his or her whole life. When separation must happen, we should be honest enough to admit that the process is painful for kids. Gay marriage is hurtful to children because it becomes the tool that separates children from at least one parent. Why would the government encourage, let alone enforce, such hurtful separation?

And by the way, grown-up romantic feelings are not reason enough to separate a kid from a biological parent. When redefining marriage, we have to pretend that if the grown-ups are happy, then everyone is happy. Problem is, pretending won’t help. And if a kid like me calls them on it, things can get ugly very quickly.

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Last March, I spoke at a Celebration of Marriage event at the Capitol Rotunda. After, the protesters got on Facebook and Twitter and said that I was being taught to be a “hater.” To that I say, no child needs to be taught to want a mom and dad. It’s a biological instinct. They have to be taught that it’s normal to be taken from one parent.

The protesters went on to call me every name imaginable. I can take the heat, but let me take a moment to speak a language they understand. When an adult gay man beats up on a thirteen-year old girl on Facebook, there’s a name for that. When you call a young girl brainwashed, bigoted, and a hater, there’s a name for that. When you dismiss my opinions and needs just because I’m weaker or younger than you, there’s a name for that. When you use the law to separate defenseless children from their mom or dad for no reason other than your desires there’s a name for that, too. It’s called bullying.

And in this case, they are trying to bully nature itself. In my U.S. History class, studying Thomas Jefferson was sometimes difficult. He was always talking about “unalienable rights” and saying things like “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” It took me a couple of tries, but I think I get it now. Here’s why:

On the day I was born, I automatically had a relationship with my mother and father. That’s the power of a biological bond. It happens naturally. That’s what “self-evident” means. We can try and fight nature, but nature will always fight back and win. Sure, we can pass any law we want. We can pass a law that says the sun doesn’t shine. Problem is, the sun will still shine. We can pass a law that says a perfectly good dad has no rights to his own child, a thing that happens often where marriage has been redefined. Problem is, he’s still the dad.

Whether you call it nature or God, each of us exists only through a mom and a dad. Every person has that exact same birthright. If ever I was “endowed by my Creator with certain unalienable rights,” this is it—to be born with a mom and dad. Why? Because it is impossible to be born any other way.

Traditional marriage is designed to protect this unalienable right given by the Creator that Jefferson spoke of. When we redefine marriage, we begin to fight against the unalienable rights of children. Tonight I am here to represent those children, and I would like to say one more thing in their behalf. We hold these truths to be self-evident: it takes a mom and a dad to create a child, so it takes a mom and a dad to raise one.


  1. 78% of all black children are born to unmarried women. It is time for black males (notice I do not say black "men"), to MAN UP, and show some responsibility. Marry the girl before you bang her, and get jobs to support the children you are siring.
  2. What a amazing young lady this is!!! It is written that "The truth cuts like a knife! OR " The truth will set you free", now with all the name Calling and "bullying" I think I must say, just because they do not like the facts doesn't give them the right to offend another! This young lady is 100% correct. And no one can deny, not God or Nature that it takes a female and a male to create a child therefore "Mother" and "Father" are created! And ever child.... Yes, I said every child has the "right" to know both of whom created them!!!! Great Job young lady, I am very proud of your lion heart!!!
  3. Very well spoken! Bless you for standing up for the children of the world.
  4. Excellent article
  5. This is the most beautiful and well spoken argument I have heard for the need of a mom and a dad! Amelia, your awesome! No doubt you have great parents. I applaud this speech and hope that somehow the world will listen!! Thank You!
  6. tough kid. I wish more adults had her backbone.
  7. I don't think that it could be said any better.
  8. Bravo!!
  9. Amelia, you could have not said it any better if you were 113. I'm proud of you! Thank you for being true and strong!
  10. Hats off to Amelia!!!! What strength and what courage she has and she is so right. Children are so precious, and yes most of us love them, but it is a blessing and a right to have a Mom and a Dad raise a child. Nothing can take the place of a Mom or a Dad!!! Love you Amelia, stay true to yourself and to your decision, a lot adults, and kids agree with you and are right there behind you. You couldn't have said it any better!
  11. Whether or not there are haters and bullies in the world, truth is truth. People who know the truth and not making excuses are so proud of you. I'm going to read this to my 13 year old daughter. Thank you for standing strong for what is right.
  12. Thanks Amelia, from all of us who appreciate the critical self-evidence of moms & dads in a child's life. The struggle for sensibility will continue and we are glad to stand with you.
  13. God bless you Amelia! I believe it was Sheri Dew who said a few years ago in a Conference talk that the righteous women of the Church are the Lord's secret weapon in the last days. I wish the whole world could hear your speech. Thank you for your courageous stand.
  14. Good going, a while back a mother was offended when some people stated their opinion about Gays. She stated that it was not a choice her son made but it was always inside him and it was nature for him to be gay and if anyone felt different they were disrespecting her and her husband and the other children in the family. Opinions yes disrespect NO. I will never have my kids told in school that the alternative lifestyle is acceptable. They have been instructed to leave the room and to call me whereever I am and I will deal with it. Good going young lady, I am proud of you.
  15. Let's do our best to share this message with the world. It is a strange time when children have to defend their own rights, while adults try to end them. Thank you Meridian for sharing her voice!
  16. What a superb young woman. Thank you, Amelia, for having the heart of a lioness.
  17. Simply put – WOW! That was articulate and well-reasoned. You can tell that came from both the “Heart and Mind”. (D&C 8:2) Each generation born on this earth is told they are God’s best. This generation is by far the best of the best. The Lord told us that in the last days old men would dream dreams and young men would see visions. (Joel 2:28) I think, in this case, she is truly a prophetess along the lines of Rebekah, Hannah, Elisabeth, and Mary. (http://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/prophetess?lang=eng)
  18. Bravo! Thank you and know you represent a large group and you have lots of support!
  19. Dear Amelia, thank you so much for your sweet, strong spirit, thank you for daring to shine in the midst of darkness.
  20. Well spoken Amelia! We are so proud of young people like you who stand up for traditional family values! Keep it up...there must be many young people who feel this way, but are intimidated by all the bullying!
  21. Amelia has great courage to stand up for her beliefs, however un-politically correct they may be. She truly is an example to all of us who believe that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. Carol Rose, the Massachusetts director of the ACLU called DOMA "pernicious". If Amelia spoke out in favor of gay marriage/unions, she would have been hailed as a hero. Isaiah's prophecy has come to fruition. Most of society calls "...good evil and evil good." Had Adam and Eve been Adam and Steve, none of us would be here. Even a thirteen knows the correct definition of GOOD, and that is marriage between a man and a woman.
  22. Well said!! It's so simple but so difficult for people to understand. This girl has great parents that have helped cultivate such a strong heart. Well done!!!
  23. I have never heard a clearer understanding or articulation of these truths. Brilliant.
  24. From the mouth of babes! Well done.
  25. Amelia, you are a radiant, lovely, wise, and courageous young woman! What a strong role model you are for those who want to stand for truth and righteousness. It's an honor to know you and hear you speak!
  26. This is a very profound article, about 2 real heroes who have "the heart of a lion!" I am thankful for 13-year-old Amelia Summerhays' courage to speak truth as it is. Ummm...it reminds me of "The Emperor's New Clothes"---you can't fake truth!
  27. Simply put – WOW! That was articulate and well-reasoned. You can tell that came from both the “Heart and Mind”. (D&C 8:2) Each generation born on this earth is told they are God’s best. This generation is by far the best of the best. The Lord told us that in the last days old men would dream dreams and young men would see visions. (Joel 2:28) I think, in this case, she is truly a prophetess along the lines of Rebekah, Hannah, Elisabeth, and Mary. (http://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/prophetess?lang=eng)
  28. Spot on!! What an inspired young girl! I had tears reading this. Brilliant!
  29. How does this apply to adoption? My husband and I don't have ANY biological connection to our children, but they are ours. Are you saying they are worse off because they were "taken" away from their birth parents? Or does this only apply to same sex couples? I thought the LDS church encouraged adoption. This makes it seem like the complete opposite. While I applaud a 13 year old for being able to talk in front of a large group of people, I really think she is off base on this.
  30. Very, very eloquently put. It took a lot of courage for her to take a stand but she sets such a great example for other children to follow! I'm so proud of her and appreciate the respect she showed others, even when it wasn't reciprocated.
  31. Amelia, I am so proud of you. I went to school with you and your light shined so bright and now it is shining so bright it shines on everyone. Thank you for staying strong no matter what! You are so amazing.
  32. Amelia spoke with such eloquence and she spoke the truth. When the government redefines marriage as they have done, they remove a child's right to be raised by a mother and father. They negate gender. This harms every one of us, and most especially those without a voice - children. Brava to Amelia for being so bold and so brave!
  33. Way to go Amelia-your article should be forwarded to each of the Supreme Court Justices -especially Judge Roberts-who swayed the Court to this ridiculous legal result.
  34. Thank you for speaking up. Your comments were wonderful and certainly ring true. We've got to stand up for the traditional family and protect innocent children.
  35. tough kid. I wish more adults had her backbone.
  36. Angela, I don't think Amelia was talking against adoption. If adoption is by a father and a mother, then that child is raised by to parents. If adoption is by a gay couple, that child does not have both father and mother.
  37. Angela, You have a good question. The LDS church does encourage adoption and oppose abortion. Your children, through adoption, are yours in every sense and they are not split between parents. I have many close friends who became wonderful parents through the adoption process. Their children have fathers and mothers and it is It is a beautiful way of becoming parents. In every case I know of, adoption was a very spiritual experience for the individuals involved. Congratulation on being selfless and being wonderful parents while giving your children a father and mother, in other words, a FAMILY.
  38. Regarding adoption. Amelia is saying that every child deserves a father and mother. Of course that does not always happen, it is the ideal to shoot for. Adopted children deserve adoption by a father and mother.
  39. Thank you for speaking up. Your comments were wonderful and certainly ring true. We've got to stand up for the traditional family and protect innocent children.
  40. Angela, I know Amelia very well, and she is 100 percent behind adoption by a loving man and woman. The test is, is it best for the child? And, is this situation as close to the biological model as we can get under the circumstances? We love you for your valiant efforts!
  41. Angela, Adoption currently serves children, who have had tragic loss, giving them both a mother and a father. You and your husband provide your children with all that biology promised them- a mother and a father. It is a relationship based on what is best for kids.
  42. Another 13 year old speaking here- In reply to Angela's comment about adoption. Adoption is normally when there are not both a mother and a father who would be able to look after their child. So the only way to ensure that the child is able to have a good life and be raised by a mother and a father is to put the child up for adoption.
  43. Yes, I agree with you. God said what he meant and He meant what he said. Man will destroy the World. God and His people will remain and rule. God said to train up a child in the way that they should go, the right way and they will not depart from it. Homosexual is a sinful Abomination and they will be cast into the Lake of Fire in Hell. The Homosexuals are wrong, but they want to call the righteous wrong, And they call us hater, but they are the haters because we don't go along with their Sin, and God help the children, they are bringing the Children into there mess and sickness. Homosexuals are sick, sad and Satan is ruling their mind. They are deceive and all that go along with them and call wrong right and right wrong. Come Lord Jesus Christ I love you Lord. Like you I love the Sinner and Pray for them But like you I hate the Sin. I feel sorry for the Innocence Children, they don't no anything. Thank you young sister for speaking out, I stand with you in Jesus Christ Name. They will reap what they are sowing. The Bible is True. MJH.
  44. what a blessing you are to the youth in this day of confusion & evil. rights wrong and wrong is right. Bless your heart Amelia, you have strengthened mine & my determination to stay strong and I am an old man. We need an army of youth like you.
  45. Amelia, you've always had a way with words even back in our 6th grade classroom. Way to stand up for your beliefs. I'm impressed!
  46. Well said. I read one of the comments that stated how this applies to adoption how what she said was off base? I don't think it is, I was adopted when I was 9 and even though I don't have a bio connection to my mom and dad they are still my parents. I think the whole taking kids away from parents mean that one of the parents didn't choose to be cut off from their child. With adoption more times then not the parents choose not to keep their child but it both of them that make the choice. Still well said
  47. This is wonderful! To:Angela, I also have adopted children, as well as biological and I see where you might feel she is saying your kids are"worse off for being adopted " but I believe most children who are adopted were either given up by a parent who may have been single and wanted them to have the mother and father kind of family or were taken from parents incapable of properly and safely caring for them. I think her statemental are reflective of children denied either a mother or father because the parents sexual desires were of higher value to them than giving them the blessings you are able to give your children by giving them both a mother and a father, adoption is a wonderful blessing to you and your kids, and no one could ever say they are worse off for it. I also think that same sex couples do love their kids, but they just may not realize how much more their child could learn in so many aspects of life from both mother and father.
  48. This valiant and courageous young woman needs to go to Congress and set them straight. She speaks the truth and it cuts to the center! Love her heart AND her common sense approach to the whole disturbing conversation on this lame subject.
  49. Ask children who have been deprived of one or the other natural parent and they will tell you of the void it leaves in their life. Many search their whole life to find the natural parent(s). The girl needs a good mother to emulate and a good father to lean on and protect her. The boy needs a good father to emulate and a good mother to nurture and stroke him to know how to love and stroke a wife. Amelia takes it all right to the source of gestation and how nature brought mother and father together to provide all the needed love, stroking, nurturing, and intents of our Father in Heaven. Amelia must have been prepared in her pre-earth life for this very purpose. Thank you Amelia for carrying through with a pure message from our Father in Heaven.
  50. Amelia is SO much more intelligent and braver than all those ignorant bullies out there who don't understand the true meaning of life. She is a shining light in this dark world.
  51. Angela, If the biological parents gave away their child to you, then that is not robbery. It is a gift.
  52. Thank you, Amelia, for saying what is in so many of our hearts. You are the epitome of what being raised by two loving parents--a man and a woman--does in raising a thinking, emotionally healthy, wise young woman. Thank you to you and your parents!
  53. After a long term and abusive marriage, we divorced. My youngest had just turned 18 and she was in honors classes at college. Ex said since she was an adult, he would pay nothing toward her, including car insurance, etc. We struggled financially until she thought it best to move in with a group of friends and had to drop out of school to support herself. A child should have two loving parents, regardless of gender.
  54. Great kid -- I love how she defends the faith... A superb defender of a faith that has been defending traditional marriage since the 1890s.
  55. Good job, young woman. The things the bullies say are not true. You are an amazing, precious daughter of our Heavenly Father, and I'm sure that he could not be more proud of your faithfulness and your courage. I'm going to tell my daughters about you, and I hope that they will be as faithful as you have been and hopefully will continue to be. Everyone who has read this, keep this young woman in your prayers. Certainly the adversary will attempt to destroy her. She needs and deserves your prayers on her behalf.
  56. Nobody is saying that gay couples have to have children. The fight is over basic rights and privileges that should be given to all human beings. The right to be with the one they love. Children separating from their parents from death is indeed a tragedy, but it is something that you cannot control. Children separating from their parents in a divorce can have a negative impact, but it can also be positive thing. If a marriage doesn't work and the couple divorces, then it is good because they weren't good for each other and shouldn't be together. A dysfunctional mother and father relationship could be even worse for a child. If gay couples do want to have children, they wouldn't love them any less than any other parent. They will automatically have a bond simply because it is their child. She is assuming that gay parents will not love and care for their kids because they do not have a biological bond, which is completely wrong to assume. There are plenty of examples of peoples that have been raised by gay couples that testify of their parents love and good parenting abilities. It would be correct to assume then that this would apply every mother and father that has to adopt a child as well, which is obviously not right to think either. A mother and father relationship is all she has known and witnessed. If she were to be raised by a gay couple, would she love her parents less?
  57. Amazing speech and young lady! I can relate to Alex and made the same promise at age 12 after going through separations,a divorce and then losing my daddy to cancer. My daughters and sons are blessed to have a father. Ask any teacher to pin point those (like me) who are living without a mother or father. Sometimes we sacrifice something. Beautiful like life and happiness for what we believe to be a right. It is just selfish.
  58. I have a correction. In my previous comment, I wrote "normal parents" after I wrote gay parents, seemingly alluding to the fact that gay parents are abnormal. I would like to change that phrase to "heterosexual parents" because I wholeheartedly accept gay parents. I know a couple families who have adopted and raised really great kids. I am a supporter of gay marriage. The only time I would find it acceptible of my calling a couple "normal parents" is if they were loving and supportive--whether they're the same sex, or opposite sexes. Additionally, I believe that "nature" Amelia was talking about concerning the bond of a child with its parents may be there, yes...However, the nature that matters is the oxytocin in the brain--also known as the relationship hormone. That is basically a key to happiness (and probably success). Nurture loving relationships that make you happy. Look into oxytocin a little bit if you like. That is all. (Man, I write a lot.)
  59. Your heart, might, mind and spirit are in the right place, Amelia. Keep speaking out.

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