Politics

America's First Gay Dad Governor Heads Into the Lion's Den

Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently became the first elected Democrat to speak at the annual Western Conservative Summit in Denver

Last Friday, American's first gay dad Governor, Jared Polis, became the first elected Democrat to speak at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, where he urged the Republican crowd to help him build a "Colorado for all."

"While we should never gloss over the things that divide us, there is a lot more that unites us," Polis said. "When we close ourselves off from discussion or debate, and we reject the possibility of hearing and understanding other perspectives, it threatens the fabric of our democracy."

If he was hoping for a Kumbaya moment, he didn't exactly get it. As he was called to the stage, he was greeted with a smattering of applause—while others booed and shouted for a "recall" of the Governor.

"It was almost unbearable for me to sit there to listen to his talk," Abby Johnson, one of the event's attendees, told the Denver Post. "And I'm going to tell you why. He kept talking about equality for all persons, yet we live in a society where 60 million innocent human beings have been slaughtered in the name of choice. Where is their justice? Where is their equal rights?"

Polis was also criticized from his left flank for attending the same event that refuses to let the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay GOP members, participate—and that featured Donald Trump Jr. as a speaker the same day. "To me it feels like vanity," Katie Farnan, a staffer with progressive group Indivisible, told the Denver Post. "He can go and be a hip Democratic governor who isn't afraid to go into GOP sanctuary. Or maybe it's recall insurance. But unless he was there to hold them accountable for their support for fascist and racist policies, what's the point?"

In response to the criticism from both sides of the political aisle, Polis told the Colorado Sun: "I think it's very important that Coloradans of different ideologies, different races, different geographies, different orientations and gender identities all really celebrate that we're all part of what makes Colorado great."

The event is hosted each year by Colorado Christian University to bring together conservatives from around the state, and the larger West.

What do you think, dads? Was Polis's decision to speak at the event a savvy political move or mere pandering?

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Change the World

There's No "LGBT Way" to Change a Diaper, Says America's First Gay Dad Governor

Jared Polis, the first openly gay male Governor of a state, talks to POPSUGAR about how being a dad has impacted his policy priorities

Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently say down with POPSUGAR for an interview to talk politics, family life, and what it's like being the first openly gay man to ascend to a state's top executive role.

Though this is a historic moment for the LGBTQ community, and gay dads in particular, Governor Polis says the act of parenting his two children with a male partner, Marlon Reis, doesn't change all that much . Or, as he more succinctly put it, "there's no LGBT way to change a kid's diaper. Or dress your kid for school."

His experience as a parent, though, has impacted some of his policy priorities. "My vision for Colorado is about making Colorado more livable for all families," Polis told POPSUGAR. One of the primary ways he hopes to do so is through family-friendly education policies, like early childhood education.

"The data always pointed to the importance of early childhood education," he says in the interview. "But now as a father of a 7-year-old and a 4-year-old, I really see it in my own kids. I see the difference that preschool and kindergarten can make and how fortunate I am to have been able to afford that for my kids."

Governor Polis is also interested in enacting paid family leave policies that are more inclusive of dads. "We want our state to be the best state to raise a family," he said. "Part of that is making sure new parents can be with their kids in those precious first few weeks that you never get back."

Read the entire interview here.


Change the World

First Openly Gay Man (and Dad!) Elected to Governor in Colorado

Despite a barrage of attack ads from his opponent, Jared Polis, an openly gay father won his race for CO Governor with comfortable margins

Jared Polis, an openly gay 43-year-old father of three, won his election against his Republican challenger last night in Colorado's race for governor. The victory will make him the first openly gay man (and first gay dad!) to lead a state. (Kate Brown, the openly bisexual Governor of Oregon, is the only openly LGBTQ person to win election to a state's highest Executive office in the country.)

Polis, who was first elected to represent Colorado's Second Congressional District in 2008, and served as co-chairman of the LGBT Equality Caucus in that body, is no stranger to making history. In 2011, when he and his partner Marlon Reis announced the birth of their son, Caspian Julius, Polis became the first openly gay parent to serve in the United States Congress. The couple welcomed a daughter, named Cora, in 2014.

Despite making history in this way, Polis and his husband have thus far kept private about their family, declining to state publicly whether their children were adopted or born via surrogacy.

Polis, who already beat out a crowded field of fellow Democrats vying for the state's top position, was seen as a strong contender as soon as he entered the race. He has been among the state's more popular Representatives, consistently winning reelection with comfortable margins. Also, thanks to several successful internet ventures prior to his turn as a public servant, he is one of the top 10 wealthiest members of Congress, meaning he's had plenty of cash on hand for his campaign.

Over 240 LGBTQ candidates ran for office this year, which is an unprecedented number. Besides Polis, several of those candidates went on to win office. Democrat Sharice Davids won her race for Congress in Kansas, becoming the first Native American and the first LBGTQ person to represent the state. Democrat Chris Pappas likewise became New Hampshire's first gay congressman after winning his election last night.

Congrats to Governor-elect Polis and to all of the LGBTQ candidates who helped make history this year!

Change the World

Gay Dad Jared Polis Maintains Edge in Colorado Race for Governor

Despite a barrage of attack ads from an outside group, Jared Polis, openly gay candidate for CO Governor, maintains his lead over his Republican challenger.

Two new polls released last week show Democrat Jared Polis maintaining his lead in the Colorado governor over his Republican challenger, Walker Stapleton. If elected, Jared Polis will be the first gay man, let alone gay parent, to lead a state. (Kate Brown, the openly bisexual Governor of Oregon, is the only openly LGBTQ person to win election to a state's highest Executive office in the country.)

Though polls have tightened the closer to election day we get, one poll, released by a Democratic consortium last week, found Polis still maintains with a 7 percentage point lead. Another, conducted by a Republican polling firm, found Polis with a smaller lead of 5 percentage points.

Notably, Polis maintains a double-digit lead among women and younger voters, whose participation in tomorrow's election may ultimately determine his fate.

Polis has maintained his lead despite a barrage of attack ads posted by Republican-affiliated groups in the past few weeks. One of these ads accused Polis physically pushing his former female personal assistant. Outside media groups have called the ad misleading.

Polis, who was first elected to represent Colorado's Second Congressional District in 2008 and serves as co-chairman of the LGBT Equality Caucus, is no stranger to making history. In 2011, when he and his partner Marlon Reis announced the birth of their son, Caspian Julius, Polis became the first openly gay parent to serve in the United States Congress. The couple welcomed a daughter, named Cora, in 2014.

Despite making history in this way, Polis and his husband have thus far kept private about their family, declining to state publicly whether their children were adopted or born via surrogacy.

Polis, who already beat out a crowded field of fellow Democrats vying for the state's top position, was seen as a strong contended as soon as he entered the race. He has been among the state's more popular Representatives, consistently winning reelection with comfortable margins. Also, thanks to several successful internet ventures prior to his turn as a public servant, he is one of the top 10 wealthiest members of Congress, meaning he's had plenty of cash on hand for his campaign.

Gay Dad Family Stories

These Dads Had 'Twins' — Just Four Months Apart

Angel and Dan's wanted twins, without the complications of a twin pregnancy — so they worked with two separate surrogates at once.

If you have ever been out late on a Saturday night, you may have high hopes of meeting a handsome stranger, but you probably wouldn't expect to meet your future husband. Angel Mario Martinez Garcia, 45, surely didn't when, five years ago on a very early Saturday morning in Barcelona, he casually approached Dan's Mouquet, 40, and asked him, over many gin and tonics, what he wanted out of life. The nightlife setting notwithstanding, Dan's told Angel he ultimately wanted a quiet life, with a partner and children.

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Politics

Gestational Surrogacy Legalized in New York State

The Child-Parent Security Act, which legalizes commercial surrogacy in New York State, was included in the 2020 New York State Budget signed by Governor Cuomo

Yesterday, a years-long battle about the state of compensated gestational surrogacy came to an end in New York when the Governor signed into a law the Child-Parent Security Act in the 2020 as part of the state budget.

The effort stalled last year after opponents, including several Democrats, successfully argued that the bill didn't go far enough to protect women who serve as surrogates — even though it included a surrogate "bill of rights," the first of its kind in the country, aimed at ensuring protections.

"Millions of New Yorkers need assistance building their families — people struggling with infertility, cancer survivors impacted by treatment, and members of the LGBTQ+ community," the Family Equality Council said in a statement about the victory. "For many, surrogacy is a critically important option. For others, it is the only option. Passage of the Child-Parent Security Act is a massive step forward in providing paths to parenthood for New Yorkers who use reproductive technology, and creates a 'surrogate's bill of rights' that will set a new standard for protecting surrogates nationwide."

Opponents, led by Senator Liz Krueger, had once again attempted to torpedo legalization efforts this year by introducing a second bill that would legalize surrogacy in New York, but also make it the most restrictive state in the country to do so. "A bill that complicates the legal proceedings for the parents and potentially allows them to lose their genetic child is truly unfortunate," said Sam Hyde, President of Circle Surrogacy, referencing to the bill's 8-day waiting period. He also took issue with the bills underlying assumptions about why women decide to serve as a surrogate. The added restrictions imply that "they're entering into these arrangements without full forethought and consideration of the intended parents that they're partnering with," he said.

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay man who became a father via surrogacy, and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, who has been public with her experiences with infertility.

"My husband and I had our two daughters through surrogacy," Holyman told Gay City News. "But we had to travel 3,000 miles away to California in order to do it. As a gay dad, I'm thrilled parents like us and people struggling with infertility will finally have the chance to create their own families through surrogacy here in New York."

"This law will [give intended parents] the opportunity to have a family in New York and not travel around the country, incurring exorbitant costs simply because they want to be parents," Paulin said for her part. It will "bring New York law in line with the needs of modern families."


Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Just Like Dad: Ways My Kids and I Are Alike

Joseph Sadusky recounts the ways he and his adopted sons are cut from the same cloth.

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of excerpts from Joseph Sadusky's new book, Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad. The book contains many stories about my life as a dad, as well as lessons learned, and we're excited to share several excerpts from the the book over the course of the next few months. Read previous installments here!

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Expert Advice

4 Tips for Single Gay Dads Raising Daughters

Here are some ways to create a safe space for your daughter to discover who she is, with you by her side.

There's nothing quite like father-daughter relationships, and when it comes to single dads, your little girl likely holds a very special place in your heart. From the moment she's born, it's as if you can see every moment of her life in front of you, from her first steps to walking her down the aisle at her wedding. You'll be the first man she'll know and talk to, and you'll be her biggest example of what a loving man looks like. She'll come to you for advice on how to navigate challenges, be independent, treat others and grow into herself.

Your relationship with your daughter may be shaped by your personal history, whether you've been through a difficult divorce or breakup, you've transitioned out of a straight relationship, or you made the courageous decision to pursue surrogacy on your own. Whatever your situation is, studies have shown that children with involved fathers excel more in school and have fewer behavioral issues in adolescence.

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