Jenny and I had forged a great life for ourselves– our dream life! We had a cute little horse farm in a small town just beyond the suburbs of Washington, DC. I had I job I loved as an equine veterinarian. She had a job she loved as the Program Director and instructor for Simple Changes Therapeutic Riding. Do you see a theme yet? Yup, horses.
People talk about the gay lifestyle, and I am never quite sure what that is, our lifestyle is all about our horses. The news that Jenny was pregnant was all it took for us to see most of our dreams to come true! We had the same anxiety that all parents have about this big milestone in our lives, how will our lives change? Will we be good parents? Plus we wondered how our small town neighbors would see our family. We choose a theme for the baby’s room, gasped in awe at the first ultrasound images and made the hundreds of choices needed for a baby shower registry. We were blown away by the warmth and generosity of our friends, coworkers and neighbors. We were treated with warmth and caring by our OB/Gyn. Consulting with trusted experienced parents, we selected a great pediatrician. After waiting so long to get pregnant, the pregnancy blew by so fast.
After being home with our two baby girls, Lily and Mia for almost two months, it’s hard to feel anything other than total elation. We were dreaming about this for so long, wondering how it could all work out, and now our twin baby girls are here. While a little bit tired, we are overjoyed!
The stress of our trip to D.C. and lack of sleep, and the confusion that came with our newfound motherhood are all so minor compared to the overwhelming joy that our babies have brought us. Our family is perfectly healthy and happy. Our support system of friends, family and neighbors has been more compassionate and caring than we ever could have imagined. This part of our adventure is just beginning, but the story of deciding to be lesbian parents in Virginia started long before we traveled to D.C. last month where my wife, Desiree, gave birth.
I am standing outside the steps of city hall in San Francisco. Jonathan on one side of me, and John on the other. It is August 13th, 2009 and after 23 years of a domestic partnership, the state of California is finally recognizing my father’s marriage. Other gay and lesbian couples are here to, celebrating what they only had dreamed possible. All I can think to myself is; how do all these marriages in any way affect the detractors of gay marriage?
For anyone under 30, it may be difficult to imagine a time when the gay-rights movement wasn't operating at a milestone-a-minute pace. From Michael Sam's "kiss seen 'round the world" to states like Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin tripping over themselves to let same-sex couples walk down the aisle, change is occurring at such a remarkable pace that it is difficult to contextualize how far we've come. Just 45 years ago gays had little choice but to quietly rise above the separate-but-inherently-unequal pre-Stonewall era. And it was only a generation ago that HIV demonstrated just how M.I.A. government and society could be -- as long as the plague was knocking on someone else's door. People who lived during these times were warriors on the front lines of history, but today the pace of change threatens to wash away the past in the eyes of a new generation. Fortunately a wave of artistic and media projects has emerged to remind us of these heroes, to refocus us on the type of activism that helped elevate the LGBT movement and to inspire us to make that final push.
Proposed Rule Extends Access to FMLA Leave to Employees with Same Sex Spouses Living Throughout the Country
Earlier this morning, the Department of Labor proposed a new rule that would change who qualifies as an employee’s spouse under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This proposed change would allow an employee to take unpaid FMLA leave to care for the serious medical condition of a same-sex spouse, regardless of whether the couple's marriage is legally recognized in the state where they reside. The Office of Personnel Management also announced its intention extend FMLA access to all federal employees with same-sex spouses, regardless of where they live. Without these changes, employees could only take FMLA leave to care for a sick or injured spouse if the state in which they lived legally recognized their marriage. Instead, employees throughout the country will be able to access these benefits to care for their same-sex spouses.