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 ()

Today is National Coming Out Day, and as we celebrate, we're sharing six coming out stories from dads in our community. Their personal stories are heartwarming, relatable, and empowering. Happy Coming Out Day, and remember, live your truth!

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

10 Inspiring Coming Out Stories From Gay Dads

Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our recent stories about gay men with kids coming out to live their most authentic lives.

Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our best articles of gay dads coming out to live their authentic lives.

#1. Former NFL Player Jeff Rohrer, and Father of Two, Comes Out as Gay and Marries Longterm Partner


Jeff Rohrer, a father of two teenage boys via a previous relationship with a woman, is the first NFL player to marry another man. Read the article here.

#2. Coming Out to His Wife Was Painful, Says This Salt Lake-Based Dad of Four. But it Started Him on a Path of Authenticity

After Kyle came out to his wife, with whom he has four children, "she listened, she mourned and she loved," he said. Read the article here.

#3. Gay Dads Share Their Coming Out Stories for National Coming Out Day

We asked several gay dads to share their coming out stories in honor of National Coming Out Day, whose stories are heartwarming, instructive, and everything in between. Read the article here.

#4. Gay Muslim Single Dad Writes Op Ed on His Path to Self Acceptance

Maivon Wahid writes about the challenges of reconciling three separate, but equally important, identities in an opinion piece for Gay Star News. Read the article here.

#5. One Gay Dad's Path Towards Realizing Being Gay and Christian are Not Mutually Exclusive

Gay dads Matt and David Clark-Sally talk about coming out, parenting as gay men, and reconciling faith and sexuality. Read the article here.

#6. Republican Utah Lawmaker, and Dad of Two, Comes Out as Gay in Moving Video

Nathan Ivie has many important identities he's proud of: Mormon, Republican, Utahn, father of two... and gay. Read the article here.

#7. How Coming Out Helped This Gay Man Find the Strength to Be a Dad

Steven Kerr shares the moment he came out to his ex-girlfriend. "From that moment on," he writes, "my strength and purpose have grown." Read the article here.

#8. 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. Read the article here.

#9. The Best Part of Coming Out, Says This Gay Dad, Is Being an Out and Proud Role Model for His Daughter

"I couldn't face myself in the mirror and think that I could be a good dad and role model for my child when I was lying to myself every moment of every day," said Nate Wormington of his decision to come out. Read the article here.

#10. These Gay Dads Via Previous Marriages Have Adopted a Motto Since Coming Out and Finding Each Other: "United We Stand"

Vincent and Richard both had children in previous marriages with women; together, with their ex-wives, they are helping raise seven beautiful kids. Read the article here.

Change the World

Single Gay Man Adopts Girl Passed Over by 20 Previous Families

Luca Trapanese, a gay dad from Naples, Italy, adopted a baby with Down syndrome who had been rejected twenty times previously

Luca Trapanese, a single 41-year-old gay man from Naples, Italy, had always wanted to become a dad. But in Italy, it was only legal for married heterosexual couples to adopt until 2017. Even then, he was told that he'd only be able to adopt a "hard to place" child, with mental or physical challenges.

"They told me that they would only give me sick children, with severe disabilities, or with behavioral problems," he told the BBC in an interview. "I was absolutely ok with that."

And that's how Alba, a little girl with Down syndrome, came into his life. Abandoned at birth, she had been passed over by 20 separate families before Luca was approached about providing her a home. Luca, who has worked and volunteered with people with disabilities from a young age, readily agreed.

"I'm proud to be her father," Luca said. "Alba was never a second option because she had a disability. I wanted her to be my daughter."

Listen to the entire interview here.

Coming Out

My Gay Shame Is Officially Cancelled

After years of feeling ashamed of being gay, David Blacker has finally overcome it. And his son had a lot to do with it.

Scrolling through my social media feeds, reading all the posts about National Coming Out Day reminds me just how valuable it is for us to share our stories and be as open, vulnerable and authentic as possible. Warning: this article is about to get real AF, so now might be a good time to switch back to the Face-Aging app that gives Russia all your personal data.

Oh good, you stayed. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Growing a Thicker Skin

Experiencing hateful and hurtful comments, Erik Alexander had to learn an important lesson: how to ignore the trolls.

Photo credit: BSA Photography

Twenty years ago when I came out, it was unbearably hard. As I have written before, I am from the Deep South. Anyone who dared to deviate from social norms was sure to be ostracized. It's not that these people were born hateful or mean; rather, it probably had more to do with them not being subjected to other lifestyles. Anything different from their own experiences sparked fear and confusion. Homosexuality, interracial relationships, religious differences – these were all unfamiliar territories to the average person I grew up around. Thus, growing up was particularly difficult.

I remember lying in bed at night when I was a little boy. I would pray and beg God to not let me be gay. Every single night I would end my prayers with "... and God, please don't let me have nightmares and please don't let me be gay." I remember crying myself to sleep many nights. I was embarrassed and ashamed. And I wanted God to cure me.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

8 Ways for Dads to Find Work/Life Balance

Finding work/life balance is hard enough... but can be even harder for gay dads.

Having kids is an amazing part of life, and it should be fun. Life does tend to get in the way sometimes, and one huge aspect of that is work. Striking that balance between work and home life is tough. If you both work it's even harder.

And if you're a gay couple, it can have it's own set of problems above and beyond the standard work-life issues that people face. Recently, the Harvard Business Review conducted a study that focused specifically on the experiences of same-sex couples who wanted to make moves towards a work/life balance.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Family Stories

These Adoptive Dads Gained an Extended Family Through Foster Care

Adoptive dads Edward and Andrew have maintained a close relationship with their twins' biological family.

Celebrating gay, bi and trans fatherhood is what we do on Gays With Kids. We rejoice in whatever paths our community took to become parents. But many of those journeys come with heartbreak, sometimes for the intended parents, and sometimes for the biological family from whom the adoption or foster placement occurs. With an open adoption, the adoptive and biological families come to an arrangement which best benefits the child, and that's when something truly beautiful can occur. This isn't always possible in every scenario, but when it does, we're exceedingly thankful. Can a child ever have too many family members loving them? Not likely. This was husbands of five years Edward and Andrew Senn's experience.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

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

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse