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

    Oh please. What has Obama done for gay people? He's just talk. If he really believed in "gay marriage" he would have signed an executive order allowing it. All he said was he supports it and it should be up to the states. He thanks you for the votes though.

    November 21, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  2. Kevin

    A lot of people are saying that "just because I oppose gay marriage, doesn't make me a bigot."

    Maybe not. But statistically, it does, and very few bigoted people have the intelligence to see it and admit it.

    While I'm here let's shut down some other arguments:
    "Whaaah it's bad for the child!" – Shut it. Studies have shown that it absolutely is not.
    "Whaaah I only like TRADITIONAL marriage!!" – Too bad. The 50% heterosexual divorce rate is what you should be complaining about.
    "Whaaah it's unnatural!" – The incredibly common and idiotic idea that natural = good and unnatural = bad. First, homosexual behavior common in nature. Second, many things that are natural can kill you, and things that are unnatural (science, medicine, the modern world) are quite useful.
    "Whaaah polygamy/bestiality is next!" – Animals can't give informed consent and can't marry. Polygamy is not permitted due to social, not moral, reasons, but I wouldn't be surprise if it became legal in my lifetime.

    November 21, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  3. N. Shapiro

    Good for Obama.
    and you "wowssers" –
    Stay out of other people's bedrooms, and
    according to the Bble a fetus is NOT human life.

    November 21, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  4. Wilson

    @Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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
    Calm down dude. No one is asking you to change your mind or refrain from expressing your opinion, least of all me. I THOUGHT we were having a calm exchange of ideas. I guess you turned right and I went left.
    We're going to have to end this by agreeing to disagree with each other.
    Let me just say that if two people love each other and do right by each other and their children without causing harm to someone else I, in my heart of hearts Wilson, wish them nothing but a life of joy and the very best.
    But that's just me....
    I was/am calm. I apologize if it came across otherwise. I thought we were having a calm exchange of ideas. I listened (so to speak) to yours and was giving you mine in return. Again, I apologize if it came across other than calm. Yes, we can agree to disagree, as I doubt that either of us will ever be able to change the others mind. Knowing what that little girl, and other children in a similar situation, are going to have to deal with because of the choices the "parents" make, well it is difficult to wish the "parents" joy or anything else. Don't get me wrong, they can live as they choose, no skin off my nose, but when children are dragged into it, they have no control over anything, they are left to deal with it as they can.

    November 21, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  5. Paul

    Awesome!!! As my husband and I begin to create our own family, it is amazing to know that our President and the majority in America believe that "ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUALLY." God Bless America!

    November 21, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Vanessa
    Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement mi hermana!

    November 21, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  7. J Brochey

    All of you people spouting hate and clinging to the edifice of your ancient texts should go somewhere else. This thread is about the endurance and celebration of the human spirit and progress and according to your own archaic scriptures, the words handed down by your savior, Jesus Christ, you do NOT have the right to judge others. This country was founded on the ideal of free thoughts and freedom of religion, away from the type of persecution that you always seem to engender. Please go back to your pedophile pastors and boy raping pope and ask for absolution for your sins before it is too late.

    November 21, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    No apologies necessary Wilson it's all good.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

    November 21, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  9. Just Saying

    If it ain't happening in my bedroom, it isn't any of my business . . . Just saying!

    November 21, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Kevin
    GREAT post Kevin!
    Funny and factual.
    I agree with you.
    ("Shut it" I'm gonna have to 'steal' that one Kev! lol!).

    November 21, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Wilson observed:

    "....Don't get me wrong, they can live as they choose, no skin off my nose, but when children are dragged into it, they have no control over anything, they are left to deal with it as they can."
    What do you mean "when children are dragged into it"? You have no clue as to how this family unit was formed. This arrangement may be the best one under whatever the circumstances might be.

    November 21, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    "If the child is in pain, it is the fault of her sick and twisted "parents" for putting a child in such situation. I know, the childs situation is not her fault, but then again it is not mine either, nor the kids giving her a hard time at school, who by the way, probably learned their belief system, and gained the "gut" feeling that the girl's situation is not normal, from their parents ... 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."

    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.

    November 21, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  13. AllisonS

    This hatred is so sad. To those that argue with the religious beliefs, take note you are not holier than you think. If hetero couples would start using contraception and common sense we would not have unwanted children that are up for adoption. Be thankful that LGBT people would give anything to adopt the mistakes your hetero society produced. Many of these children now are given the opportunity to have parents that love and care for them. As far as Sophia's experience in school, this is truly sad because the bullying being bestowed on her are from the children of bigoted and hateful hetero families.

    November 21, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  14. Wilson

    @Hugh Jass
    "her sick and twisted "parents"" That is so very Christian of you to say so. You are a credit to whatever dog's church brought you up to hate people. You also need to understand that most 'homophobes' like you are obviously closest cases trying not to drop the soap in front of everyone; the rest of us are not enraged by them because we don't find them tempting. You are angry because you are tempted, and we all see that, but that is your problem and not ours.
    There you go, making assumptions with no knowledge. You know what happens when you "assume." You speak about me talking "hate." The hate seems to be coming from you dude. I am not a follower of the book of allegory and fables, though I have read it. It does have some good guidance on living a decent life, though so does the book the muslims use (CNN won't let me use its name), which I have also read a translation of, though other parts of that one are pretty scary, especially when the "devout" try to follow it. The sanskrit books and even the budhists guide books, all give similar guidance. Amazing how the many religions of the world all give similar guidance. Though practically none of them were intended to be taken as word for word fact.

    November 21, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  15. Ed

    Pen pal would suggest multiple letters over a period of time.

    November 21, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  16. J2

    According to the Bible, God loves everyone. End of story.

    What is wrong with all of us that we hurt one another so much?

    November 21, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  17. Where's the beef?

    This is not the story of two gay guys or even how the president feels about gays. This is about a little girl – who, btw, and as with any child, does not get to choose who her parents are – who felt greatly out of place and wanted some reassurance from an authority figure that she is OK.

    November 21, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  18. kathy

    Hopefully, this young girl is soothed by the support she received, but the pressure and criticism she will endure will continue. Perhaps those with doubts about this can simply agree that homosexuality is rare, not common, and not a choice. However, a family , however it looks, is a need that every young person has. Increased tolerance of differences does not mean one has to sacrifice their own principles.

    Sadly, in my state, high rates of domestic violence, and divorce are tolerated much easier that same sex relationships.

    November 21, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  19. Kelly

    Love cannot be divided, in this world full of hate, I celebrate love in all of its forms! I raise my children to be open minded and accept everyone for their kindness and individuality, I hope other parents do the same.

    November 21, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  20. who am I to judge

    I've said it once and I'll say it again when judgement day comes every individual will answer for their own sins so who am I to judge. Its none of my buisness on my fellow man decides to love. So please get off your high horse and stay out of other peoples bed rooms

    November 21, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  21. 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.

    November 21, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  22. 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.

    November 21, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  23. Jeff

    Two fathers? Two mothers? “His husband?” “Her wife?” This is politically-correct social engineering gone nuts. And who’s going to suffer? Well, the kids raised in such screwball “families.” We have millions of years of evolution behind us that makes us who we are today. A child needs both a mother and a father for different reasons, because they each bring unique strengths to rearing a balanced little human. For us to arbitrarily say that it’s perfectly healthy for a kid to be raised by same-sex parents is wacky. It would be very interesting to hear what this girl has to say in about 7 years.

    November 21, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  24. Anonymous

    the guy didn't speak up until election time. I wish he would come out of the closet! Where's reggie Love?

    November 21, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  25. Data Driven


    Um, and I acknowledged that he did. Your point?

    November 21, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
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