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Last week, STLtoday.com commenters got stirred up by our front-page report on the number of gay couples with children in the St. Louis area.

The article drew nearly 200 comments and led to many conversations in our newsroom and, we surmise, elsewhere around the area.

A well-respected and well-liked colleague threw out a follow-up question to me for Talk of the Day: Would people let their children play with the children of gay couples, and play at their homes?

If most kids are anything like mine were when they were growing up, they paid little attention to the parents of their friends. They were far more interested in the backyard toys and basement ping-pong tables than whether a friend's parents were married or divorced, gay or straight.  Usually the biggest information my kids offered me was what kind of a snack the parents might have offered.

But the parents pay some heed, indeed. Would you consider the sexual orientation of the parents of your children's friends before permitting a play date? Would you allow your child to play at that child's home, or prefer they play at yours? And would you offer an explanation to your child?