Unique Families: Same-Sex Parents

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Right now, only one percent of American children live with same sex parents.

But as more people become comfortable coming out and starting families that number will undoubtedly change.

In the first part of a special series on unique families, you will meet a local gay couple living a life they say is pretty conventional.
Zeke Rowell is just a few days away from his third birthday, and unlike most toddlers, he’s already helping his parents with the chores.

Zeke is also unique because he has two dads.

“He’s Daddy and I’m Papa,” smiled Nathan Anderson, Zeke’s dad.

They’re just one of the nearly 95,000 same-sex couples with children in the U.S.

“Before we were married we knew that we wanted to have children, but it seemed like much more of an obstacle,” said Dan Rowell, Zeke’s dad.

But that turned out to be far from the truth.

They adopted their son at four months old through Lutheran Social Services without any trouble.

“We’re fortunate we live in a community where people are very supportive of diversity,” said Anderson.

The couple says they are not that different from conventional families.

“We’re married, we’re working jobs, we’re trying to raise kids, we’re owning a home,” said Anderson. “I mean I think we really contribute to the strength of society’s fabric.”

In 2000, about 65,000 children lived with same sex parents and in 20-12 that jumped to 110,000.

“Marriage and families have been evolving since time began and that’s just going to continue,” said Anderson.

With that come challenges like fulfilling gender roles.

“So we’re very conscious of him having strong positive role models that are women,” said Rowell.

Zeke spends a lot of time with his aunt and grandmothers.

“Children, kids his age, they’re fairly blind to the differences between families. So for him, there’s no difference to what our family is like compared to others,” said Rowell.

But as he gets older, Anderson and Rowell realize it’ll get harder.

“My fear is that kids can be mean to each other and at some point in time he’ll probably be teased for having two dads,” said Anderson.

Right now though, Zeke is enjoying life as a little guy.

Learning every day that family is more than what people see on the outside.

Anderson and Rowell have been together for more than 10 years and were married the first day gay marriage was legalized in Minnesota. 

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