Two gay dads from Lansing, Michigan were surprised and honored when they received an invitation to celebrate Father’s Day at the White House from the nation’s First Dad. Kent and Diego Love-Ramirez will spend today, Friday, on the South Lawn of the White House with President Obama, even though their home state doesn’t recognize them as a family.
Kent and Diego’s son Lucas was born on New Year’s Day in 2011. Diego cut the umbilical cord and Kent was the first person to hold him. Ever since they brought Lucas home they have been, in Kent’s words, “very attentive and very intentional parents.” The presidential invitation, then, is not only an honor but a validation.
“For us, it’s especially meaningful,” Kent told the Detroit Free Press. “Because Michigan doesn’t have second parent adoption, we’re not both legally recognized as Lucas’ fathers. Only one of us is. It’s nice that even though we don’t have legal recognition in our home state that the White House has seen fit to include us.”
The Love-Ramerizes were chosen for their work with the Family Equality Council after the White House came looking for “dynamic father leaders.” During last year’s Michigan Pride, they volunteered to set up a family space. Last December, they brought along Lucas when they testified against a Michigan House bill that would have allowed faith-based organizations to opt out of performing or assisting in adoptions on religious grounds.
“By all accounts, our adoptive story is a perfect example of how children in need should find their way to loving families,” Kent told a committee at the time. “Yet these bills threaten to allow bigotry and individual subjectivity to trump the state’s criteria for determining the eligibility of a family.”
Having worked so hard to be together, Kent and Diego won’t actually spend Father’s Day with each other. Diego’s a pilot for Delta Air Lines and he has to miss a day of training on a new aircraft to attend today’s fatherly festivities — he’ll have to make up for it on Sunday.
“But we’re OK with that,” Kent said. “We’ll be apart for Father’s Day, but we’ll be together for this.”