10-year-old with same-sex parents finds pen pal in President Obama
November 20th, 2012
01:35 PM ET
2 years ago

10-year-old with same-sex parents finds pen pal in President Obama

(CNN) – When Sophia Bailey-Klugh, a 10-year-old, invited President Barack Obama to dinner, she didn't get a response.

So when he replied to her second letter–this one thanking him for his position on same-sex marriage–the girl with two fathers was really surprised.

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One of Sophia's fathers, Jonathan Bailey, posted the letter to Facebook on October 28, saying Sophia penned the piece "unprompted" and it made her two fathers "so unbelievably proud."

"Dear Barack Obama," she wrote. "It's Sophia Bailey Klugh your friend who invited you to dinner. You don't remember okay that's fine. But I just wanted to tell you that I am so glad you agree that two men can love each other because I have two dads and they love each other."

Sophia, who lives with her fathers in San Diego, California, went on to write about how other students at her school say her parents' marriage is "gross and weird."

"It really hurts my heart and feelings, so I come to you because you are my hero," she wrote, asking for advice on what he would do if he were in her shoes.

"I hope you win on being the president. You would totally make the world a better place," she ended the letter. "Please tell your daughters hi for me!"

Also on the page was a drawing of her two dads kissing, with the word "love" written overhead.

From Jonathan Bailey's Facebook page

A week later, Jonathan posted a letter with the president's letterhead at the top. It was dated November 1 and addressed to Sophia.

"Thank you for writing me such a thoughtful letter about your family. Reading it made me proud to be your president and even more hopeful about the future of our nation," the letter stated.

"In America, no two families look the same. We celebrate this diversity," Obama continued. "And we recognize that whether you have two dads or one mom what matters above all is the love we show one another. You are very fortunate to have two parents who care deeply for you. They are lucky to have such an exceptional daughter in you."

From Jonathan Bailey's Facebook page

Shortly after North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in May, Obama announced in a televised interview that he had "evolved" in his position on the issue and believed two people of the same gender should legally be allowed to wed.

Americans have largely been divided on the issue of same-gender marriage. According to CNN Exit Polls from Election Day, 49% of Americans said they agreed that same-sex marriage should be legal in their respective state, while 46% disagreed.

Obama overwhelmingly won the support of those who identified themselves of gay, lesbian or bisexual–76% to Mitt Romney at 22%. While Romney personally opposes same-sex marriage and civil unions, he did say he supported domestic partnership rights and favored the right for a gay couple to adopt children.

In his letter, Obama suggested that Sophia remind her friends at school about the Golden Rule: "A good rule is to treat others the way you hope they will treat you."

"Thanks again for taking the time to write me," he continued. "I'm sorry I couldn't make it to dinner, but I'll be sure to tell Sasha and Malia you say hello."

When Jonathan Bailey posted the letter from the president, he also offered his own personal thanks.

"Thank you Barack Obama – you have made one 10-year old feel mighty special (and her two dads too)," he wrote in the caption of the photo.


Filed under: 2012 • President Obama • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (393 Responses)
  1. Name Janet

    The president was against same sex marriage before he was for it. He just wanted votes...he shouldn't be this girl's hero!

    November 21, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  2. Nick

    Anyone besides me disappointed that with the fiscal cliff looming, the Mid-East falling apart, and Benghazi Gate in full swing that this is considered news? Maybe if Obama focused less on being a celebrity and more on doing his job we could solve REAL problems. Gays have the same enumerated rights as the rest of us – time to focus on the real problems.

    November 21, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  3. Marcus

    Jeff – People who were raised by only one parent (father or mother) are naturally ********-up people for you right? Not to mention the adopted ones or those who were raised by a relative!
    Why gay people CAN adopt a child and raise him/her as their own sibling?
    Because after dozens and dozens and dozens of studies all those who tried to object to it got all their arguments legally debunked, in other words, a child has the same chance to be raised well or bad by a 'normal' family (mother and father) as he/she has by a 'weird' one. It's all about WHO raises the kid and not the attachements (race, religion, sexual orientation and the likes) of those people.

    November 21, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  4. Wilson

    @Rudy NYC

    Lynda/Minnesota wrote:

    You are absolutely allowed to come to CNN and discuss this childs "gut" feelings of pain. It's what makes you who you are, Wilson – for better or for worse.
    -------–
    I kind of feel sorry for Wilson's hypocrisy. Declares his right to express his beliefs, and then proceeds to express his belief that he has that right to specify and define the beliefs for others.
    --------------------------------------
    Dude, you lost credibility a long time ago. Now you are just trying to stir something up. Nowhere have I said that I have the "right to specify and define the beliefs for others." You just keep losing credibility. Pretty soon, nothing you write will be read.

    November 21, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. Hugh Jass

    " A child needs both a mother and a father for different reasons, because they each bring unique strengths to rearing a balanced little human." So we should ban divorces and force people to live together "for the children's sake?" Man, what a horrible idea. When I was a little kid, my dad died; would you have forced my grieving mom to marry some goon just to keep me from growing up without a dad? My friends used to say I was lucky not to have a father to beat me up and break my toys. My dad wasn't like that, and I was shocked by their envy. Come on, half the families in America are broken up in some way these days. Life is hard, and conservatives break up as fast as anyone else.

    November 21, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  6. Wilson

    @Marcus
    Hey Wilson, you accuse others of doing exactly what you do, it's called 'projection'.
    No one, but you and the likes of you, is trying to 'force' anything upon anyone.
    Fact: Gay people exist.
    Fact: There are ZERO justification in the Constitutional, Scientific and Psychological worlds (read studies and analysis made by non-biased people) that could be used to support YOUR point of view about gay people.
    Fact: You have all the right to be like you are, just don't try to look down on anybody else because of it.
    We are all human beings dude, no one is above or below anyone just for being who she or he is.
    ------------------------------------------
    Spoken like a true sick/twisted person.
    Fact: That is the beautiy of it. I can look down an anybody I wish, for whatever reason I wish. I can have the opinion that someones actions can make them less, or even non-human if I wish. By the way, you need to look up the definition of "projection," then look in a mirror. You display your lack of knowledge, therefore lack of credibility.

    November 21, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  7. California Gary

    @Wilson.......I spent a number of years defending people's rights to say and believe as they please too. Don't you think that what we were defending included the rights of this little girl and her two fathers to live their lives as they see fit, and without the rest of us passing judgment on them and calling them "wierd"? Think about it my brother in arms......we weren't defending the rights of "some" of the people, we were defending the rights of "all" of the people. At least I was.....

    November 21, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Dude, you lost credibility a long time ago. Now you are just trying to stir something up. Nowhere have I said that I have the "right to specify and define the beliefs for others." You just keep losing credibility. Pretty soon, nothing you write will be read."

    Dude, It's called reading between the lines. Rudy chose well.

    November 21, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  9. Larry L

    @Anonymous

    the guy didn't speak up until election time. I wish he would come out of the closet!
    -----------------------------------------------–
    "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

    You folks who always point the finger to classify others as "gay" seem a little too interested in the subject... Got anything you'd like to tell us?

    November 21, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  10. Hugh Jass

    "Dude, you lost credibility a long time ago." Stop calling everybody "dude." You are the biggest drama queen I've seen on here for a while. Waaah, people are gay. Waah, gay people have kids. Waah, these dudes and dudettes are disagreeing with me. What does credibility mean to a guy named after a soccer ball in a Tom Hanks movie anyway?

    November 21, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  11. jane

    I am so proud of our POTUS! and Sophia!

    November 21, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. Me IN HOUSTON

    Nick said, "Anyone besides me disappointed that with the fiscal cliff looming, the Mid-East falling apart, and Benghazi Gate in full swing that this is considered news?"
    -the fiscal cliff was put in place by teapublicans complaining about the debt and deficit
    -We are only concerned about oil...not the Middle East...oil just happens to be there
    -"Bengazi gate" is just the Republican displaying phony outrage. There quest to destroy President Obama continues in spite of his re-election

    November 21, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. Rebecca

    How very wonderful to hear the heartfelt thoughts of this young child who is learning about what real love is. Mr. Obama's response helps to support the importance of courage and integrity in standing up for what is right and true. President Obama represents the very best of what a leader should be: courage, integrity, strength of conviction, humility, inspiration, and forward vision. And he does so in the face of such veiled hate. The haters are vile but Obama continually stands for our right and duty to stand for what is right and good. Good always wins in the end. With all the current political challenges we are facing right now, I am so very thankful we have Obama in office.

    November 21, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  14. Hugh Jass

    I'm just hoping "Wilson" doesn't have any children or come into contact with them in his life. No kid deserves that kind of negativity.

    November 21, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  15. jj19549696

    Middle Class Joe” Takes Thanksgiving on Nantucket

    by Keith Koffler on November 21, 2012, 8:48 am

    Vice President Biden, who thinks of himself as middle class and self-identifies with average Americans, embarked Tuesday for the exclusive resort island of Nantucket, where he and his family spend Thanksgiving every year.

    According to Nantucket’s Inquirer and Mirror, it’s the 36th straight year the Biden clan has celebrated the holiday on the island.

    Biden used to journey by boat from Hyannis – the ritzy island enclave where President Obama vacations during summer – to Nantucket for Turkey Day, the newspaper reports. But as vice president he descends from the clouds at taxpayer expense aboard Air Force Two.

    Biden, who along with his wife Jill earned $379,000 in 2011, proclaimed himself in a speech this past July to be a member of the middle class:

    November 21, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. Wilson

    @Lynda/Minnesota

    "Dude, you lost credibility a long time ago. Now you are just trying to stir something up. Nowhere have I said that I have the "right to specify and define the beliefs for others." You just keep losing credibility. Pretty soon, nothing you write will be read."

    Dude, It's called reading between the lines. Rudy chose well.
    ------------------------------------–
    In that case, I'm sorry, neither Rudy, nor you, know how to "read." I know what I meant and putting your own meaning in by "reading between the lines," costs you in terms of credibility. Basically meaning you might not be worth having a conversation with.

    November 21, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  17. Wilson

    "What does credibility mean to a guy named after a soccer ball in a Tom Hanks movie anyway?"
    ----------------------------------------–
    And there we have the resorting to name calling and insults to someone that does not agree. Demonstrating the kind of person you are.

    November 21, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  18. Mel Haun Sr

    What a nice thing for Obama, or his team, to do.
    That said, I don't think there is anything our President could do do that would please some of the wingnuts. Instead of saying that was a nice thing for him to do taking the time out of an unbelievable schedule.. we get negativity. Get over it, he is our President, and in spite unbelievable obstruction has accomplished more than most Presidents so far. Hundreds of things. Some that have been in the shute for decades. All with very little help from the Republicans. Thank you President Obama!

    November 21, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Wilson just wrote:
    "Dude, you lost credibility a long time ago. Now you are just trying to stir something up. Nowhere have I said that I have the "right to specify and define the beliefs for others." You just keep losing credibility. Pretty soon, nothing you write will be read."

    Wilson had previously wrote:
    The fault lies entirely with the two people that disregarded the child's feelings, the knowledge of what she would probably go through, and put her in unnatural situation in the first place. I do feel sort of sorry for what the girl is going through, but I'm not going to change my opinion because of it, and I will express my opinion anytime I wish. I have spent over 20 years defending the right to not bow to "political correctness," to say what I think and feel as I wish.
    ------------------------
    Seems pretty cut and dried to me. You judged. The parents failed your judgement. You expressed your opinion. You have defend your right "to not bow" to political. You have said what you think, and expressed your feelings that the relationship does not meet your feelings of "political correctness"....in a purely social scenario.

    I only responded in kind. Don't make yourself look like a worse hypocrite than you already have.

    November 21, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  20. Name. American

    God said to love ALL!! You who don't consider this whoa be on to thee!!

    November 21, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  21. Vicki

    I am very proud of this wonderful little girl! I am even more proud that we live in a country that has a President who truly cares for all the people. Mr. President, Thank You for your constant dedication to our needs, our challenges, and our differences. This past weekend I saw the movie Lincoln and instantly I was astonished by the comparrisions of his challenges while in office and the President's challenges. Keep strong, Mr. President...we need you. Now for all the 'haters' on here making comments...shame on you. This is a beautiful story of a little girl's love for her family. Love is NEVER wrong. Please, take a look in the mirror and ask yourself this question...who do I love and who loves me. The honest answer might be shocking.

    November 21, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Basically meaning you might not be worth having a conversation with."

    Then by all means, feel free to ignore my comments ... or not.

    November 21, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  23. marva stewart

    Obama rocks,congrats sophia u are bless hug both your dad and give them a kiss .

    November 21, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  24. Mia

    I for one have had enough of the holier that thou BS that people run on with when it comes to LGBT issues in the world. If I met Sophia I would hug her, I think she is an amazing little girl who accepts the love of two parents that make her feel loved and safe. With so many children in foster care who are unloved and unwanted, if a good family (and they are a family) can give them a home I say hell yes! There is enough in the world to worry about how LGBT people live their lives. I'm a Christian, and while I don't agree with the lifestyle, that it in NO way prevents me from showing love and respect to the people who do. We all have to stand before our God and answer for ourselves, leave people alone!

    Furthermore a President must respond to social issues as well as political and economic ones, the fact that he took the time to respond to this little girl is awesome. It always amazes me, that people will not give President Obama respect and credit where its due. But really, no matter what he did people would still find fault because he's not white or he's a liberal dem or whatever other BS reason they can come up with! Get over Romney LOST, he got hoodwinked and bamboozled by conservatives and got slaughtered election day! Deal with them apples and get the GOP to stop making excuses and actually try to work with POTUS to make America better!

    November 21, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  25. Felipe

    Beautiful story! Very touching. Thank you Sophia for standing up for your dads and thank you Mr. President for being so supporting. Please fight for reapeling Doma once and for all, which is an aberration. Me and my spouse are same-sex dads of 2-months old twins and very proud of our loving family. Felipe, Brooklyn, New York

    November 21, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
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