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A tale of two dads
A look at the holiday celebrating fatherhood and the experiences of two gay men with a young son

by Donald Miller

Three makes a family: Tony Archer, Reid Murrow and Donnie Murrow.
Father’s Day was inaugurated in the early 20th century to complement Mother’s Day, to celebrate fatherhood and parenting by males and to honor and commemorate fathers and forefathers.

In the U.S., the first modern Father’s Day celebration was held on July 5, 1908, in Fairmont, W.Va.

Perhaps the strongest driving force behind the establishment of Father’s Day was a woman known as Sonora Smart Dodd.

Born in Creston, Wash., her father was a single parent who raised his six children in Spokane, Wash. She was inspired by Anna Jarvis’ earlier work to establish Mother’s Day and in an effort to pay tribute to her father the first June Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in Spokane.

Support from such figures as William Jennings Bryan was immediate and widespread. President Calvin Coolidge recommended it as a national holiday in 1924. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson made Father’s Day a holiday to be celebrated on the third Sunday of June. The holiday was not officially recognized until 1972, during the presidency of Richard Nixon.
Partners Donnie Murrow and Tony Archer will celebrate Father’s Day with Murrow’s son Reid, much like many families around the globe.

“He’ll be with us for Father’s Day, like he always is,” says Donnie. “He likes to make me a card and he’ll have some kind of gift. Then we’ll go out for dinner.”

Murrow, who works in printing and community support, and Archer, a machinist, make their home in Gaston County. The two have been together four years and are equally committed to Reid.

“We’re very much a family when we’re together,” Donnie explains. “And both of us participate in Reid’s life.”

Eleven-year-old Reid spends every other weekend with Donnie and Tony. “We do all kinds of things together,” says Donnie. “Fishing, putt-putt, the movies. It’s always a good time.
“Recently we’ve been playing softball with the gay team and he goes along with us. He’s completely comfortable with our relationship, and we don’t keep anything from him.”
Reid confirms having a gay dad — or two of them, actually — is no big deal. “It’s just like any other family,” Reid says matter-of-factly.

“We have a lot of fun together. My dad’s so funny — he’s always telling jokes — and we like going fishing together. Tony and I play video games a lot. That’s fun, too.”

For Donnie, his fondest moments with Reid come when the three of them are together, not really doing anything in particular.

“It’s times like when we walk into the grocery store and he squeezes in between us, grabbing both of our hands, or when we’re sitting on the couch at home and he wants to sit with us. Those are the best times.”

Statistics on LGBT parents
According to a report by the Urban Institute:
• One in six gay men have fathered or adopted a child, and more than one in three lesbians have given birth and/or adopted a child.

• More than half of gay men and 41 percent of lesbians want to have a child.

• An estimated two million LGBT people are interested in adopting.

• An estimated 65,500 adopted children are living with a lesbian or gay parent.

• More than 16,000 adopted children are living with lesbian and gay parents in California, the highest number among the states.

• Gay and lesbian parents are raising four percent of all adopted children in the U.S.

• Same-sex couples raising adopted children are older, more educated and have more economic resources than other adoptive parents.

• Adopted children with same-sex parents are younger and more likely to be foreign born.

• An estimated 14,100 foster children are living with lesbian or gay parents.

• Gay and lesbian parents are raising three percent of foster children in the U.S.

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