My wife, Starla, and I have been together since 1997, and have lived in real time the incredible progression that the LGBTQ community has made in the past two decades. In the early years, we couldn’t imagine a reality where marriage would one day be legal. Our youth was characterized by a feeling of being under siege, whether it was being physically attacked outside of a gay bar, the never-ending obituaries of gay men felled by AIDS, or the constant attacks from politicians scoring cheap political points at the expense of our community.
In anticipation of having children, we had a commitment ceremony in 2006 here in Delaware County, and invested time and money in manufacturing a legal safety net for our future family. As we began to have children, we moved into a new front of LGBTQ rights: being a family with same-sex parents. We cross-adopted our children, and took to carrying our kids’ birth certificates with both our names on it – the better if we faced a legal emergency.
Today, we have the Windsor and Obergefell decisions that transformed our lives. We married in 2013 in the presence of our children. But we know how tenuous our rights are. As the only openly gay candidate running for Congress from Pennsylvania, you can count on me to see hate for what it is, regardless of how it is framed or at what community it is directed.
I am running for Congress because I want to give my kids a better America that draws strength from diversity.