marriage

Designer Daddy’s Top 15 Blog Posts of 2015

December 30, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES, POP CULTURE

Designer Daddy Best of 2015

2015 was quite a year for me, for my family, and for several communities to which I belong. A flurry of sticky-note success; a milestone in equality; venturing into kindergarten; the return to a galaxy far, far away; the tragic loss of a friend — all of these contributed to one of the most eventful 12 months in my recent history. And it’s been exciting, fun, cathartic, intimidating, and inspiring for me to chronicle it all here (and a couple of other places) in word and doodle.

So if you’re a new reader curious to know what this site is all about, or a familiar friend sharing some moments of reflection, welcome. These are my 15 favorite blog posts of 2015.

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Sharing History: A Gay Dad & His Son Take a Field Trip to SCOTUS

June 27, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

I’d been battling a summer cold and was giving my achy muscles a rest, when multiple alerts on my phone roused me from grogginess. At long last, the Supreme Court had ruled to uphold the legality of same-sex marriage! Friends and family were texting, emailing and posting in a celebratory barrage of beeps and tweets.

Yet my relief, excitement and pride were shortly muffled by throbbing sinuses, and I resigned myself to sitting this historic event out. I had been there when DOMA and Prop8 were overturned, we’d been legally married last year, my husband was out of town and I was exhausted from my solo-parenting stint — the reasons to stay in bed were all within easy reach. But something (the social media frenzy? live news reports on the TV in the background? guilt?) moved me to maneuver upright and out of bed, where my thoughts became clearer…

This isn’t about you, or about what you have or haven’t experienced. It’s not about living within reach of where it’s all taking place. This is an opportunity to share a moment with your son. A historic moment in the nation’s evolution. A moment relevant to him and his story.

After a shot of Mucinex, I somehow managed to pull it (snacks, water, metro cards, myself) together, picked Jon up from day camp, and we set out on our adventure.

I told my curious and excited 5-year-old we were going on a field trip to the Supreme Court Building. I told him we would get to ride the subway and a taxi, and that the building looked kind of like the Hall of Justice. He was already sold by the how and where, but I needed to explain the why.

Remember when Daddy and Papa got married, and how much fun that was? (Nods) Well, we were able to get married and be a family because it was legal in our state. But there were still a lot of families with two mommies or two daddies in other states that couldn’t get married because they weren’t allowed to. Because it wouldn’t count. (Look of concern) Until today. The Supreme Court is where they decide all the laws in the country, and they said that any two people can get married anywhere and be a family — and they said that was the law just today. So we’re going to celebrate!

Pauses. Mulls.

So, it’s gonna be… like a little party?

Our field trip to SCOTUS the day same-sex marriage became legal

A day of so many firsts, including Jon’s first time in a taxi.

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Fridge Wisdom: Same-Sex Marriage in the United States!

June 26, 2015 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF

I can’t believe it’s finally here… my last state magnet post commemorating the progression of same-sex marriage across the United States! For those of you just joining this odd journey and wondering why the heck I chose this method to mark the march of progress, you can poke around these posts. Or just go with it.

I’d done a little prep work asking for magnets from the hold-out remaining states, so was a tiny bit ahead of the game. Then I went and got sick, laid up for a couple of days. I was sleeping when the Supreme Court announced their ruling, but eventually got a spark of inspiration and took my son on a spur-of-the-moment field trip to SCOTUS (more about that trip in a future post). Which is why I’m just now getting around to this.

From the moment SCOTUS’ ruling was read this morning, I started getting messages and texts along the lines of, “Now you gotta find a magnet for the whole USA!”

I thought about it, but quickly decided against it. While the state governments (and quite a few of the citizens) of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas deserve to have their noses rubbed in this victory, those couples waiting and hoping and fighting to get married in those states do not. They deserve their own day — their own magnetic moment in the sun, as it were.

So without further fanfare, the remaining state magnets…

Same-Sex Marriage in the United States!
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New Ads from Hillary, Dove, Tylenol Show Gay & Lesbian Families. Does It Still Matter?

June 25, 2015 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF, POP CULTURE

new ads with gay and lesbian families

As the months and days have counted down to the presumed legalization of same-sex marriage, more companies (and politicians) continue to produce ads with gay and lesbian families and couples. But do they still make an impact? What do they say about the companies airing them? Do they still even matter? READ FULL ARTICLE >>

28 Reasons Being Legally Married Gay Dads Is Awesome!

June 18, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF

Marriage equality currently sits on the Supreme Court’s docket, awaiting a final ruling. Though not assured, all signs point to same-sex marriage finally being legalized in the entire United States by month’s end.

I’ve put a lot of words on this site about same-sex marriage — about mine and others’; about the depiction, support and condemnation of gay marriage in the media and politics; and about its slow progression to acceptance…one ponderous magnet at a time.

Waiting with hopeful anticipation, I’m (nearly) at a loss for words. But many others are not — men who have shared their stories and their families with me over the last few years. Many who have become friends in this herky-jerky journey of being a gay man and a father. I’ve pulled together a fraction of the tales that have paved the long, bumpy road to equality — and the reasons these dads love (or look forward to) being married.

So as we await SCOTUS’ decision, please join me in wishing these dads and their children a long-overdue, exceptionally, abundantly awesome (and legally married), Happy Fathers’ Day!

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1. Your Love Knows No Bounds…or Boundaries

Brian & Ferd, married 6/10/13, Toronto; moving back to New York City in July. [Photo courtesy of Brian Rosenberg]

28 Reasons Being Legally Married Gay Dads Is Awesome!

Brian and Ferd were married on their 20th anniversary as a couple. Several years earlier they had moved to Toronto from New York, as Ferd was coming on the end of his legal status in the US (he’s Dutch). Six days after their wedding in Canada, SCOTUS ruled that they could now get married in the US and both be eligible for federal benefits of marriage. Brian can now sponsor his husband for permanent residency, and the couple is moving back to New York next month. Welcome back, guys!
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READ FULL ARTICLE >>

Fridge Wisdom: Same-Sex Marriage Legal in Ireland, Lots of Eyes Smiling

May 26, 2015 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF

same-sex marriage in Ireland

A hearty congratulations (and a lifted pint) to the people of Ireland! On Saturday, The Emerald Isle became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. With a turnout of 60% of the population, the marriage referendum was approved by a 62-38% majority.

While it’s encouraging to see a sizable number of its citizens voting to legalize same-sex marriage in Ireland, it’s still a shame that such a vote had to happen at all. Not just a shame, unethical. Someone’s freedoms shouldn’t be determined by the will of the masses — especially when the individuals in question are well in the minority.

Can you imagine having to allow millions of strangers vote whether or not you could marry the love of your life? I can. It happened three times in my home state of Maryland. Only after the third vote passed (by a small margin) was I able to legally marry Papa… whom I’d been with for 17 years. Maryland was part of the first (and only) batch of U.S. states to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. While the eventual result was wonderful, the process was humiliating and frustrating, leaving myself and many others in the LGBT community feeling powerless and without advocate.

Still, I’m happy for Ireland. And with our country’s highest court deciding the fate of same-sex marriage very soon, I hope Ireland’s progress helps sway SCOTUS in the right direction.

Another thing Ireland can teach the U.S.? How not to be a sore loser. Several groups opposed to the Marriage Referendum showed good sportsmanship in the face of defeat.

“Congratulations to the Yes side. Well done.” was tweeted by a conservative Catholic think tank.

Mothers and Fathers Matter, another group opposing same-sex marriage, stated, “This is their day, and they should enjoy it. Though at times this campaign was unpleasant for people on all sides, nobody who involves themselves in a campaign does so with anything but the good of their country at heart. There is no better way to resolve difference than the way we are using today.”

Can you imagine an American politician (on either side) saying anything even remotely similar? How about a Supreme Court justice? Certainly not Scalia.

Here’s wishing on a four-leaf clover…

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A handy map showing the progress of same-sex marriage in the world. And you thought it was frustrating looking at the U.S. map…

same-sex marriage in ireland
Click to biggefy. Source: Wikipedia

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Every time a country or US state legalizes same-sex marriage, I post a photo of a magnet from either my fridge or that of a reader. Take a look at previous magnet posts.

For more family-friendly(ish) fun, visit Designer Daddy on Facebook!

3 Reasons We Need A Religious Freedom Restoration Act

April 1, 2015 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF
Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act LGBT

Indiana Governor Mike Pence, unintentional champion of equality

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Disclaimer: This is not an April Fools’ post.

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Less than six months after same-sex marriage became legal in Indiana, Governor Mike Pence passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act — a law that many believe will allow businesses to use their faith as a reason to deny service. Now Arkansas has followed suit, an almost identical bill passing through the state legislature and needing only Governor Asa Hutchinson’s signature to become law. These men are clearly threatened by the strides LGBT rights have made in recent years, and are using taxpayer dollars to legislate the equivalent of “My mom made me invite you over, but you can’t play with any of my toys.”

Yet these RFRAs are anything but child’s play. And neither are they meant to protect or restore anyone’s freedom, religious or otherwise. They instead reward ignorance and legalize hatred in a way this country hasn’t seen since the 1950s.

Are they really that worrisome? Hasn’t there been a national RFRA in place since 1993? Yes, but Garrett Epps explains in an article for The Atlantic that these laws are different in two important ways: with the Indiana version giving businesses the same rights of refusal as non-profits, and barring any business for ever being sued for refusing. Epps reassures that the uproar over this bill is warranted:

“The statute shows every sign of having been carefully designed to put new obstacles in the path of equality; and it has been publicly sold with deceptive claims that it is ‘nothing new.'”

So why would the LGBT community (or anyone, really) need these awful pieces of legislation?

READ FULL ARTICLE >>

Fridge Wisdom: Same-Sex Marriage Shines in Florida*

January 6, 2015 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IN FLORIDA
Florida:
same-sex marriage ruled legal August 21, 2014. Law went into effect January 6, 2015.
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Despite being home to gay-friendly Disney World, Fort Lauderdale, and scores of left-leaning retirees, Florida is just as well-known for its ultra conservative politics. As recent as 2010, same-sex adoption was still illegal — thanks in large part to Anita Bryant and her homophobia-disguised-as-Christian-concern Save Our Children campaign. Florida’s had a Republican governor since 1999. And Miami Beach didn’t have its first gay pride parade until 2009. Seriously?

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Designer Daddy’s Top 14 Blog Posts of 2014

January 2, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

DESIGNER DADDY'S TOP 14 BLOG POSTS OF 2014

A lot of people seem to be glad 2014 is behind us — in a hurry to forget all about it. Certainly it had its share of frustration, failure and loss. But there was also plenty of good I want to remember. I interviewed an author I’d grown up reading, wrote some movie-related stuff, shilled for the enemy, won Halloween, defended manliness (for mature audiences only), reviewed some children’s books, gave advice to parents of gay kids, added a buttload of magnets to my fridge, attended a couple of conferences, and helped raise over $35,000 for a dear friend in need.

And somewhere in there, I found time to write other things. Personal, soapboxy, silly and celebratory things. These are my 14 favorite blog posts of 2014, in chronological order.

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Fridge Wisdom: Four More States Make It Over the Rainbow

November 23, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF

And then there were 15. Just over a dozen states remain either defiant against or dragging their heels on legalizing same-sex marriage. 62.4% of Americans now live in a state where same-sex marriage is legal. As we get down to these last few hangers-on, I’m tempted to highlight the ironies of the infamously anti-gay events and people these states have produced. But I’m in more of a celebratory mood, and will refrain from such pettiness.

For example, it would be tacky to mention Matthew Shepard was beaten, tied to a fence and left to die outside Laramie, Wyoming. Or that his death and the ensuing outcry is what many consider the turning point for LGBT rights in the United States.

I’d certainly never remind you that while Kansas is where Dorothy Gale hails from, it’s also where Fred Phelps called home and set up his hate-mongering “church.”

And heaven forbid I list some of South Carolina‘s greatest hits, which include Strom Thurmond, Linda Oliver, Earl Ballard, Lindsey Graham, Mark Sanford, and Bob Jones University.

As for Montana… well, I honestly don’t know much about Montana. Isn’t that where Miley Cyrus is from?

In all seriousness, I was particularly excited about same-sex marriage in South Carolina. The legal announcement also brought with it the engagement announcement of some very dear friends. Rob and Dwight have been together for 13 years; they moved back to Charleston from DC several years ago to be closer to their extended families. It was a difficult move to make, so I’m beyond ecstatic the courts have rewarded their commitment to family by allowing them to become a legal family at long last. Congratulations, guys! I’ll be waiting by the mailbox for an invitation!
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Same sex marriage in Wyoming

Wyoming: same-sex marriage legalized Oct 17, effective October 21, 2014. (L to R: Magnets courtesy of Chad Welch and Brad Gordon)

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