Parched Earth, Green Corn:
Outside the kitchen entrance, Q’tatoo stopped and took Khaiyalit’s hand as he kissed her scaled cheek.
Morel furrowed hir brow as zie watched. “Are they married?”
“No,” Dr’sey said. “They don’t wish to marry—but they have been together for over 10 years, so most consider them mated. Some people question it, however, because they are reproductively incompatible.”
“What does that mean?”
“Humans have 26 chromosomes and bear live children,” Caylin said, “while Teratellans have 29 chromosomes and lay eggs. Khaiyalit and Q’tatoo cannot reproduce as a couple.”
Q’tatoo said something that caused Khaiyalit to smile—her chest spasming as she tried not to laugh. They hugged, then Q’tatoo left for the kitchen.
Q’rellian also watched them. “Some find it strange,” he said, “but mixed relationships are common in the galaxy, regardless of whether they can procreate. Sentience is more important than biology.”
He shrugged, as if discarding the idea. “It isn’t much different from you and Dr’sey... imagine if people considered yours and Dr’sey’s love wrong because you and he can’t have children?”
“Hatred and bigotry were abundant on Earth, and still exist in many places,” Caylin said. “Over 150 years ago, the Smiths could not marry because they were gay. Two hundred years ago, a black man couldn’t date a white woman—let alone marry her. We don’t wish to see that on Z’t’sha.”