#GWKThenAndNow: Bill, J.R., Mary and Nora

This week's #GWKThenAndNow is Bill, one of our first gay dad bloggers, and his husband J.R. The two met in New York City in September 1997 when they were playing for different teams in the same gay bowling league. They flirted for a few weeks until it was time for their teams to play each other; by the end of the night they made plans for their first date two days later.


High school photos of J.R. and Bill, 1983 and 1985 respectively

Follow their journey from high school to 1997 to 2015, and along the way meet their two gorgeous daughters, whom they co-parent with a lesbian couple.

Christmas 1997: Bill (l) and J.R. in the first photo ever taken of them together

Bill and J.R. have visited the altar together three times: The first was a commitment ceremony in May of 1999, for which Bill shares, "At that time the thought of ever being legally married didn't seem possible. We held our ceremony strictly out of wanting to declare our commitment to each other in front of our friends and families."; a "Civil Disobedience Wedding" in San Francisco in 2004; and a legal wedding in 2008 during the brief window of time before Prop. 8 was passed.

Images clockwise: The top image with their daughter, Mary, is from the legal wedding in ’08; J.R. is carrying Bill in the Civil Disobedience wedding; the Commitment Ceremony in ‘99.

Following their commitment ceremony, they honeymooned in San Francisco. After only 24 hours, the two decided that's where they wanted to live. So they moved there in February 2001 and three years later were married in a mass "Civil Disobedience" ceremony held during San Francisco's Winter of Love weddings.

Enjoying a beer in Amsterdam, 2003

2006: AIDS Lifecycle

J.R. and Bill both wanted kids, but they also knew that they lived in one of the most expensive cities in the world and had no extended family living nearby for support. They did their research, and determined that co-parenting with two moms was their best approach. This created an instant support network in addition to easing the financial burden. Bill and J.R. met their future co-parents, a lesbian couple, though a monthly prospective parents brunch. They spent two years getting acquainted before having Mary, their first daughter, in November 2006.

J.R. and Bill with Mary, 2006

On October 9, 2008, the 11th anniversary of their first date, J.R. and Bill were legally married in California. That wedding was made extra-special thanks to the participation of their eldest daughter, Mary, as flower girl. In December 2009, J.R. and Bill became dads again, welcoming their second daughter Nora.

January 2010: J.R. with Norah

Through co-parenting J.R. and Bill have been able to have the best of both worlds; children and all that they bring to their lives, while also maintaining a non-child-centric social life. They're especially thankful for their group of friends, who adore the dads' two daughters and include them whenever possible.

2014: AbFab Family

March 2014: J.R. photo bombing Nora

If Bill had to describe his family in one word it would be "silly" and we think these photos reflect a wonderfully loving family who certainly have lots of fun together. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos with us!

San Francisco Pride, 2014

September 2015: Castro Street Fair, San Francisco

If you'd like to be one of our featured families for #GWKThenAndNow, please email Brian at brian@gayswithkids.com and share your story with us!

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