American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

This Father’s Day

June is the month for weddings. It’s the time when many couples decide to pledge their love to one another and enter a special bond that will form the foundation of their family for years to come.

June is the month when, five years ago, I married Gabe, the love of my life. We had been together for five years and already had plans for a wedding when the California Supreme Court ruled that gay and lesbian couples were entitled to the same rights and benefits as any other couple. We could legally get married, so we did.

We were honored to have Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa marry us at City Hall, and when he declared: “By the power vested in me by the State of California, I now pronounce you legally married,” it gave me chills. With those words, it struck me that our marriage was being officially acknowledged and sanctioned by our government.  With those words, I felt for the first time that our government would be there to protect Gabe and me, and the family that we wanted to create.

Then our daughter, Ilaria, was born. Becoming a father has filled my life with unexpected joy. Now that she’s two years old, I already see the person she’s becoming. She’s happiest walking down the street holding her daddy and papa’s hands because she knows she has a family that loves her.

The only damper on our happiness is the realization that even though Gabe and I are legally married, the federal government will not be there to protect Ilaria if anything happened to one of us, as it would for any other child. By not recognizing her parents’ marriage, the federal government is telling my young daughter—and the 6 million children of gay and lesbian couples like her—that somehow there is something wrong with her parents, her family and, by extension, with her.

As a father who loves his daughter more than words can describe, that kills me.

This Father’s Day, I only want a big hug and an “I love you, daddy” from my daughter. But this June, I want something more from my government. After building a loving family and home with my husband, and after witnessing the sea-change of public support for marriage equality, I want the U.S. Supreme Court to treat all loving, committed couples and their families with equality, respect and dignity. I want our government to protect all children, and strike down discriminatory laws that hurt families, like Proposition 8 and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.

Although June is known as the month for weddings, I hope that this year, it will be also be known as the month for equality and love.