Meet Russ, Mark and Their Teenage Kids

Meet gay dads Russ and Mark and their two teenage kids. Russ and Mark met in 2009 and married three years later in New York City. They had a reception on their farm a week later where the kids played an integral part of the celebration.


Mark and Russ (center) together with their family on their wedding day, 2012

Russ (l) and Mark with their kids at Mark’s parents’ house in the village of Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island in Lake Erie, Ohio

Russ is the biological dad to his two amazing kids from a previous marriage; Russ got married at 22, before he discovered his "true self.”

Family selfie before their son's sophomore prom

Russ is a teacher by trade, but after coming out he went back to school for a second master’s degree and now works part time as a mental health therapist, working largely with LGBT youth.

Family vacation to Outer Banks, N.C., where they go every year with Russ's family

Russ and Mark co-parent with the biological mother of Russ's children. Their daughter spends time both at their house and with her mother; their son lives with Mark and Russ full time.

Participating in Alliance Community Hospital’s “Steppin’ Out for Hospice 5k Run/Walk" in memory of Russ’s aunt

Both teenagers adore Mark. Russ and Mark are seriously contemplating adopting a third child together.

Family photo at Russ’s nephew’s wedding in the summer of 2014

They have been through all the home studies, finished their parenting classes and have cleared all hurdles; now they’re just waiting for the call from the agency!

Family trip to New York City in August

Mark and Russ renewed their vows last year in Central Park; this time both their kids were there to celebrate with them.

Mark (l) and Russ renew their vows in Central Park in front of their kids

“Mark is in every way a father to my children,” says Russ. "Life is exactly the way it should be.” Congratulations to this awesome family!

Family photo at Toledo Zoo

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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!

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Photo credit: BSA Photography

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

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

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

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

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

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#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.

Gay Dad Life

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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.

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Change the World

Single Gay Man Adopts Girl Passed Over by 20 Previous Families

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"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.

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Listen to the entire interview here.

Gay Dad Photo Essays

Gay Dads + Kids = MAJOR Family Halloween Costumes

All October long, we'll be posting pics of gay dads and their major Halloween costumes from previous years for inspiration! We'll ALSO let you know where to get the looks!

We've said it before and we'll say it again — NO ONE does Halloween (aka queer Christmas) better than the gays. So if you're in need of some inspiration for this year's family costume, look no further! We selected 31 of our favorites off Instagram from last year, one for each spooky day of October, to help get your creative juices flowing.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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