Change the World

An Anti-Gay Letter to the Editor - And the Many Responses to It

As recently as a few days ago we were reminded that in some corners of American society our gay dad families are viewed with suspicion and contempt.  The following anti-gay letter to the editor of the Centre Daily Times, a newspaper in State College, Pennsylvania, makes clear that we need to be ready to protect our hard-won rights. Fortunately, as the reactions to the homophobic letter show, many more people than before are willing to help us defend the dignity of our families.

An important part of what we do here at Gays With Kids is to advocate for our families, such as normalizing our family experiences for those who otherwise wouldn’t understand just how similar our families are to their own. When you become aware of something of importance to our gay dad community, please let us know by sending an email to dads@gayswithkids.com!

Thanks for Greg Hutch for alerting us to this story. 

The Anti-Gay Dad Family Letter to the Editor of the Centre Daily Times

Last year, on November 18 – National Adoption Day – two Philadelphian dads finalized the adoption of their 7-month-old daughter. It was one of the happiest days of their life as their family became official in the eyes of the law. The day was reported on by the Centre Daily Times (CDT), a newspaper in State College, Pennsylvania, while "the magnitude of the moment was on full display as family members shared hugs and shed tears."

On January 28, 2017, a letter to the editor was published in the CDT that considered the adoption of the young girl by her two dads, and any adoption of children by same-sex couples, to be "detrimental to the emotional well-being of children."

PUT HETEROSEXUAL COUPLES FIRST

It was with sadness and dismay that I read of the adoption of a 7-month-old girl by two men (CDT, 11/19).

Sadness because the little girl will not experience life in the home of a mother and father. A similar situation occurred in the past year in Pennsylvania when two men from Brazil paid a surrogate mother in Pennsylvania to carry a baby and then adopted the infant and took him to Brazil.

No credible social scientist would deny that the best environment for children to be raised is a stable, heterosexual marriage. I am dismayed that adoption agencies, knowing that married, heterosexual couples are the best homes for children, would act otherwise.

I have written state Sen. Jake Corman and Rep. Richard Irwin asking that they sponsor legislation instructing adoption agencies to give preference to married, heterosexual couples when placing children. I also requested that they sponsor legislation outlawing the practice of paid surrogate adoption. This is already illegal in many states but legal in Pennsylvania.

I urge readers to write to their state representatives and request similar legislation. Otherwise, we permit actions by adoption agencies that are in fact, detrimental to the emotional well-being of children.

Greg Hutch’s Response to the Anti-Gay Dad Family Letter

The letter spurred a great uproar within the readership of the CDT as many comments streamed in from the LGBT community and our supporters, asking the author of the letter to cite academic references to support his claims. We were heartened to see that the vast majority of comments came from those supporting this two-dad family's rights and denouncing the letter to the editor which called into question their competency, and legitimacy, as good parents.

Greg Hutch, a gay dad from Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, wrote a very touching response, a shortened version of which was published by the CDT. We are quoting the heart of his letter:

Eleven years ago, this great guy named Tim and I met at a school function. We are both educators and fate somehow brought us together at an event two hours away from my school and home. Like many of you, one of the very first conversations that we had was how important our own families are to us and how important it was for us to create a family of our own someday. Eleven years later, we are paying off a loan from an international adoption scam that involved twenty-six families, but didn’t discourage us, and we have a perfectly loved, handsome, smart, amazing seventeen-month-old son who we are living our lives for every day.

Early in my career, I watched a student walk into my classroom completely soaked. It was raining outside and I knew that he was a walker. When I asked him why he did not use an umbrella that morning, he said, “Because my dad won’t let me take it. He’s afraid that I’ll leave it here at school.” That grown-up, poor excuse for a father was more worried about his umbrella than about his son. That was the moment in my career as a teacher that I knew that I had to follow through on my aspirations of adopting a child. I knew that I could do better and that that struggling young man would be thriving in a home like my own.

Seventeen months ago, a woman walked into a hospital and gave birth to a son who she was not prepared to care for. At that point, an agency gave her a binder full of families who were looking to share their love with a child. She went through all of them and HANDPICKED us! We could barely contain our excitement and our entire family was overjoyed at the thought of us finally getting to start the family that we had been hoping for. Today, our son’s birthmother is in touch with us on a regular basis. We have a private photo account set up so that when we take photos of our boy, they go directly to her. She comments on almost every one of them. Whenever we meet with her so that our son grows up knowing the woman who made such a loving decision, she brings her family who showers him with as much love as our own family does. He has one HUGE family that is filled with more love than you can imagine. He is healthy, he is happy, he is cared for, and he is raised by TWO DADS.

There are a lot of people in this world who are afraid of what they don’t understand or who are self-righteous enough to think that their way of doing things is the only way of doing things. As I stated, Tim and I are educators. We see plenty of examples of great parenting and unfortunately more and more examples of awful parenting on a daily basis. We are both working so hard to be amazing parents and letters like the “Put Heterosexual Couples First” letter that you published on 1/28/2017 provide us with even more inspiration to not just be better parents, but to aim to be better parents than any of the naysayers ever could be. Our son is loved, is cared for, has a huge family to support him, and will always be our number one priority. I would encourage ANYBODY who loves children and who is willing to sacrifice themselves for the life of a child to adopt, no matter what their sexuality is.

Juliet Cawthern’s Response to the Anti-Gay Dad Family Letter

Another reader, Juliet Cawthern from Boalsburg, wrote a passionate letter as well:

PUT THE CHILDREN FIRST

I was appalled by a letter to the editor published Sunday in response to two local men adopting a 7-month-old girl. The writer says he feels sad for the child, who will not experience having a mother and father, yet he does not cite any sources backing up his claim that children are better off with heterosexual parents.

The latest statistics from Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reports 427,910 children were in the foster care system in 2015, with 111,820 waiting to be adopted. Many of these children do not form healthy attachments to their caregivers, especially if the child experiences multiple placements in foster homes, group homes, or treatment facilities in a matter of months (which is not uncommon).

I don’t believe that reader’s letter was written out of sadness for the child. I believe it was out of prejudice and lack of knowledge of how adoptions are arranged. Adoptions are granted when adopters prove that the child will be going to a loving, nurturing and stable home. Adoption agencies ensure a good fit for everyone involved and that the child trusts his or her adopters. Denying anyone the joy of parenthood because of their sexual orientation is unacceptable and prolongs the uncertainty of the child’s future.

So, no, do not put heterosexual couples first. Put the children first.

More Responses to the Anti-Gay Dad Family Letter

One from Heather Corbally Bryant from Massachusetts:

I want to add my voice of protest to those of others who have already spoken out against the letter published in the CDT regarding families of same-sex parents.

It is a fundamental human right of everyone, regardless of their sexual preference, to be parents who can make a loving and safe home for their children.

To believe anything else is narrow minded and ignorant.

Another one from Bennet Ulmer, from Bellefonte, Pennsylvania:

We are a two-dad family who have been navigating the long and difficult road to opening our home through adoption for several years. We want to provide a loving home to a child in need based on the wishes of the birth family who are placing that child for adoption. Adoptive placement is a deeply personal choice involving both the birth family and the adoptive family with a host of counselors and lawyers and social services agencies thrown in the middle. There simply is no part of the adoption system that can give preference to any one adoptive family over another.

Columbia University has compiled 79 studies whose research “forms an overwhelming scholarly consensus, based on over three decades of peer-reviewed research, that having a gay or lesbian parent does not harm children.” We encourage the letter’s author to review the research, and sit down to meet families like ours. Our door is open. I disagree with commenters disparaging the CDT. I think it provides an opportunity to open dialogue with folks that are basing ideas on assumptions that are ill informed. Dialogue and discourse make a world of difference.

I do agree with the author that concerned citizens should reach out to your elected representatives and make your voices heard. Let them know that we believe in evidence-based, peer-reviewed research and that children need loving parents no matter what size, shape, or color that family looks like.

Some Comments to the Anti-Gay Dad Family Letter to the Editor

There are also numerous comments on the letter itself, the vast majority in support of the dads:

Show Comments ()
Change the World

Hungarian Company Raising Money for LGBTQ+ Organization with a LEGO® Heart

Startup WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is helping combat misinformation and prejudice in Central and Eastern Europe

Guest Post from WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD

WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is an innovative startup venture that sells LEGO® parts and unique creations. The core values of our company include social equality regardless of gender identity or origin. As LEGO® is a variety of colors and shapes, so are the people.

We all know that LEGO® is a brand that nearly everyone knows and likes between the age of 3 and 99 so this gives a great opportunity to connect unique LEGO® creations and Pride. We started a fundraising campaign for a Hungarian LGBTQ+ organization who's aim is to bring people closer to the LGBTQ+ community, they help to combat misinformation and prejudice regarding LGBTQ+ issues in Central- Eastern Europe since 2000.

You might know that gender equality and the circumstances of LGBTQ+ people is not the easiest in the former communist Eastern European countries like Hungary so this program is in a real need for help. For example a couple of month ago a member of the government said that homosexual people are not equal part of our society.

The essence of the campaign is when one buys a Pride Heart, a custom creation made of brand new and genuine LEGO® bricks the organization gets $10.00 donation so they can continue their important work. This Pride Heart is a nice necklace, a decoration in your home, and a cool gift to the one you love.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

4 Tips for Using Instagram to Connect with Gay Dads Offline

We asked gay dads who have successfully met up with other LGBTQ families offline for some of their tips

Last week, we ran a story about several gay dads who did the unthinkable: meet other gay dads IRL after connecting on Instagram! We get MANY questions from gay dads wondering how they can meet up with others in their area, so we decided to dig a bit deeper this week to get their advice. What can gay dads do to meet others off the 'gram?

1. Be kind — share others' excitement in parenting!


From @twinlifedads Ben and Andy:

"Be kind. That is absolutely it. Be kind to each other and don't be afraid to reach out. Respond to each other when you can. Share in excitement for each other. There is no reason to bring someone else down who might be excited about how they are parenting."

2. Drop a couple comments and likes before reaching out!

From @brisvegasdad Tim and Nic:

"I think drop comments now and then on their posts and instastories and see where things land. Chances are, if you're commenting on a post and it is a heartfelt response, they'll click through to your account, look at your photos and connect with you. And that's when the magic happens - you can introduce yourself, talk about your lives and how things are being a parent... and after a while, if you're in the same neighbourhood, you meet up and grow your friendship organically. That being said, I'm obsessed with Bobby Berk from Queer Eye and his husband Dewey Do - if they ever had kids, I'd probably be completely unsubtle and leave strange awkward comments on their instaposts saying, 'GAY DADS MEET UPSSSSS'."

3. Go in with no expectations

From @stevecsmith Steve and Ben:

"I always try to reach out without any expectations – mostly just to provide a positive comment. I like to leave it up to the other parents to comment or message back before suggesting meeting up or a playdate. Every family is different, so how each person is going to respond is different too."

4. Keep trying!

From @theconways13 Ricky and Jeff:

"Reach out to other families, start a light friendly conversation. Get to know each other and let conversations happen organically. If they lead to a play date great! Our first experience in meeting another lgbt family (not through ig/gwk) was very awkward cause there wasn't a whole lot of conversation happening before hand. The conversations leading up to the play date will help make the first play date with the family go a lot smoother and fun. Don't be afraid of not connecting with the other families. If it isn't successful the first time, continue reaching out to to other families- don't let it deter you from reaching out to others."

Change the World

How Gay Dads Are Using Instagram to Connect

Meet the gay dads from around the world who are using our Gays With Kids Instagram account to connect with other gay dad families!

It can be easy to dismiss Instagram as nothing more than a place for us to pretend our lives our perfect — smiling families, exotic vacations, maybe a FaceTuned pic or two — but for gay dads, it's more than that. Sure, we share our perfect family pics, too. But for LGBTQ families, who still face discrimination all across the country and world, sharing a picture of two gay dads, smiling happily and proudly with their kids, is also a political act. And it provides us an opportunity to lift up and support one another, wherever our families are, in cities and towns big and small.

And we're proud to provide an avenue for these families to meet and connect via our Instagram page (which just reached over 100,000 followers!!)

Keep reading... Show less
Popular

'Our Family is Complete': Congrats to Gay Dads on Their Recent Births and Adoptions!

Join us in congratulating all of the gay men in our community whose families grew recently!

Wishing all of these gay dads congratulations on their exciting news this month. From becoming first-time dads to finalizing adoptions, congrats to everyone in our community on their wonderful news!

Circle Surrogacy is the proud sponsor of this month's congrats post. They were founded in 1995 on the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to be a parent. "For over 20 years we've helped LGBTQ+ couples and singles around the world fulfill their dreams of parenthood. We've helped bring more than 1,900 babies into this world... and counting!"

Congratulations to Andrew and Edward on finalizing the adoptions of their twins!

For Andrew and Edward, their foster parent training plus home study took about a year. "We had a brief placement of twin girls that were four years old two months after we had been approved," said Andrew. "Then we took a break as it was a difficult process, the 'loss' aspect, when that placement ended."

Then on March 15, 2017, their case worker sent them information about two little babies - a boy and a girl - that were still in the NICU and only nine days old. "It was a foster case with an uncertain future, but we decided those little babies needed us!" They dads took a leap of faith and on July 10 this year, their twins' adoptions were finalized. Andrew and Edward have a wonderful bond with the paternal grandmother as well as a special relationship with the twins' father. "We all love these twins, and the more love they have the better their lives will be."

"Adoption is one of those experiences where one side experiences incredible joy while the other side experiences incredible loss," continued Andrew. "We are grateful to experience this joy knowing that biological family members are happy for us to experience that joy."

Congratulations to this Mt Airy, Philadelphia, forever family of four!

Congratulations to Sean and Thomas on finalizing the adoptions of their twins!

Together 15 years, London couple Sean and Thomas recently finalized the adoption of their twins.

"About 3 years ago we started meeting adoption agencies and were approved as prospective adopters the following spring," shared Thomas. "We were anticipating a long wait, but quite quickly were matched with our twins. At the time they were nearly five."

After a fairly long transition period for everyone to get settled in, the adoption was formalized the day after Father's Day. "Two years after matching, at times it seems like the kids have been with us forever and other times a blink of an eye. But it is certainly the most life-changing, transformative experience and we cannot imagine life without them. It's wonderful that our family is now official!"

Congratulations to Phillip and Clinton on the birth of their daughter Madison!

Little Madison joined her dads on July 1, 2019, after coming into the world via surrogate.

"I caught Madison as she was born," said Phillip. "I have never felt such an exhilarating rush in my entire life! We were genuinely in love at first sight!"

Now that we Phillip and Clinton are dads, they say they feel a "sense of wholeness" in their lives! "We have a new motivation and purpose in life! It's truly the greatest blessing!"

These new dads and the apple of their eye live in Texas.

Congratulations to Michael and Tyler on the birth of their twins, Elliot and Oliver!

Herriman, Utah, couple Michael and Tyler have been together for 9 years, and married for 3. "In the beginning of our relationship we knew how important family was and how much we wanted to be dads," said Micheal. "After we got married we met with a couple surrogacy agencies and were advised to meet with an IVF clinic before proceeding. In doing so, we found that going through a surrogacy journey independently was very possible."

So the dads decided to shift gears and work in that direction, booking a follow up appointment with the clinic. "We met with their 3rd party coordinator over the surrogate process and she did not have any inquiries of any surrogates." Serendipitously, and unbeknownst to the husbands at the time, their future surrogate made an appointment to talk about being a gestational carrier for a same-sex couple. "The next day we got the unexpected call that someone was interested and open to meet. From there the rest was history as we continued with the surrogacy process."

Over a year later, the dads welcomed their two sons. "The first time we got to hold the boys, it felt so natural to us, as if nothing else in the world existed and time stood still as we got lost in the moment."

Congratulations to Adam and Josh on finalizing the adoption of their daughter!

Adam and Josh got engaged on Good Morning America on Valentines Day, and welcomed their Christmas miracle baby into their lives on December 26th. On July 12 this year, they celebrated becoming a forever family of three.

"For an event that always seemed like it would be the end of our adoption journey, Baby K's Finalization Day felt more like the beginning of a greater adventure," shared Adam. "Since day one, Baby K was always loved and 100% part of our family, but we are so filled with joy to see this day come and make it officially official. We cannot wait to spend the rest of our lives not only watching Baby K grow and develop, but also to see the two of us learn and grow in this new role as parents."

Congrats to these Dallas dads!

Congratulations to Dan and Martin on the birth of their son Herman! 

Copenhagen couple Dan and Martin welcomed their second child through surrogacy on July 11 this year in Florida, USA. Herman joins big sister Ellen, born March 1, 2015, in Vermont via surrogacy. Here's a little more.

"Two amazing American women and their families took us in as their own and we're forever bonded," said Dan about their path to fatherhood experience. "It has been an amazing journey with both of them, our family is complete."

Congrats to the Danish family!

This post is sponsored by Circle Surrogacy

Circle was founded in 1995 on the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to be a parent. To this day, that belief is at the core of everything we do. For over 20 years we've helped straight and LGBTQ+ couples and singles around the world fulfill their dreams of parenthood. We've helped bring more than 1,900 babies into this world... and counting!

We're an agency comprised of social workers and lawyers, accountants and outreach associates, and program managers and coordinators; but, more importantly, we're an agency made up of parents, surrogates and egg donors, who are passionate about helping people build their families, and invested in each and every journey.

Circle is proud to have helped so many gay families achieve their dreams of becoming parents. Together, we make parenthood possible.®

News

Ed Smart, Father of Kidnapping Victim Elizabeth Smart, Comes Out as Gay

In coming his coming out letter, Ed Smart, a Mormon, condemned the church for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals.

In a post on Facebook, Ed Smart, father of kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart, came out as gay. He also discussed his strained relationship with his Mormon faith, claiming he felt he didn't feel comfortable living as an openly gay man in a church with a difficult history with respect to its LGBTQ members. He and his wife, Lois, have filed for divorce.

"This is one of the hardest letters I have ever written," he began the letter. "Hard because I am finally acknowledging a part of me that I have struggled with most of my life and never wanted to accept, but I must be true and honest with myself." He went on to acknowledged a new set of challenges facing he and his family as they navigate a divorce and his coming out — in the public eye, no less — but concluded, ultimately, that it's a "huge relief" to be "honest and truthful about my orientation."

He went on to condemn The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals. "I didn't want to face the feelings I fought so hard to suppress, and didn't want to reach out and tell those being ostracized that I too am numbered among them. But I cannot do that any longer."

In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, Ed Smart further discussed his reasons for coming out now, as a 64-year-old man.

"I mean, I knew that it would probably come out at some point, just because people can't leave things alone. I did anticipate that it would happen at some time, but my intention in writing it was to try to let my friends and family know, you know my extended family ... know where things were. So, you know, I was really concerned about how the rumor mill starts," he told the paper. "I knew that at some point in time, that would come out," he elaborated. "I didn't know when it would come out, and so I would rather have it come out the way that it did versus having some rumors going around, and you know the crazy way things can get twisted."

In 2002, Ed Smart's daughter Elizabeth was abducted at knife point by a married couple from her bedroom in Salt Lake City, Utah. She suffered physical and sexual abuse at the couple's hands, for nine months, until she was finally rescued by police. During the ordeal, papers — including the Salt Lake Tribute — speculated about Ed Smart's sexual orientation based on some fabricated information sold to the paper by tabloids like the National Enquirer. (The Enquirer retracted the story, and the reporters at the Tribute were ultimately fired.)

"I think that in April I started feeling like I needed to prepare something," Smart told the Tribute. "Because during Elizabeth's ordeal, there were things said, and it wasn't what I wanted to say, and I was not going to allow that to happen again."

As to how his family has taken the news, Smart said they've been "very kind" to him. "I think it was very difficult to have this kind of come out of the blue. I don't think any of them knew I was struggling with this, so it was something they were, if you want to call it, blindsided by. I totally get that. They've really been very wonderful."

Congrats to Ed Smart on making the difficult decision to live his truth. Read his full letter here and his interview with the Tribute here.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

"Rollercoaster and Sons," Explores the Journey of One Single Gay Dad Through the Foster-Adopt System

When it comes to the foster-adopt system, "there is no roadmap," said single gay dad Chase Turner

Guest post written by Chase Turner

Many of us thought long and hard about what avenues were best to pursue being a dad. For me, fostering to adoption was the selected road. There is no roadmap here, many things that came my way were learned by doing. Along the way, I started wishing I had a better support group or people who could understand what it's like to be gay and attempting to adopt. Often we (people who are LGBT) feel scrutinized and judged for choices that the majority makes but for us there is pushback. Once my adoption was complete, I felt it was necessary that I put pen to paper and write this story, from a gay male perspective.

My goal was to provide a voice in the space of foster care and adoption where there is a void. Additionally, I wanted to provide an authentic look at all facets of the process, from the kids, to the obstacles and challenges that happened within my personal life. I do hope you enjoy and more importantly can relate or prepare yourself for a similar journey.

Keep reading... Show less
Fun

Gay Dad Penguins Strike Again! This Time in Berlin Zoo

The latest male penguins to care for an egg together are Skipper and Ping in the Berlin Zoo.

First, there was Roy and Silo — the two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo that served as inspiration for the famous children's book And Tango Makes Three. Then Magin Sphen got together in Sydney, where aquarium keepers gave the cocks (Calm down, that's what a male penguin is called!) a foster egg to care for.

And now, please welcome Skipper and Ping in Berlin to the latest list of gay dad penguins! As soon as the two emperor penguins arrived at the city's zoo, they set about trying to start a family, said Berlin Zoo spokesman Maximilian Jaege to DPA news.

"They kept trying to hatch fish and stones," Jaeger said.

So the zookeepers loaned the penguins an egg from a female penguin, who is apparently uninterested in hatching eggs on her own, according to the BBC.

Unsurprisingly, the gay penguins are killing it as parents. "The two male penguins are acting like exemplary parents, taking turns to warm the egg," Jaeger said,

Read the whole article on DPA here.

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse