Despite having settled in a state that not only bans marriage equality, but is actively restricting adoption rights for gay couples, Steven and Roger Ham both became the legal parents of their dozen children this past July. Yes, dozen as in 12, all of whom fall between the ages of three and 17. Esquire Magazine took note of this tremendous undertaking and included the Arizona couple in their “Fathers of the Year” spread, the only gay couple to appear on the list.
Raising 12 children has been no easy feat for the Hams, who have struggled for legal recognition of their family in the conservative-leaning state since 2003, according to Queerty. Arizona bans same-sex couples from adopting together, which meant Steven was the sole, legal parent to the ten children adopted in the state, leaving Roger with only a tenuous string of rights. Luckily, the pair connected with attorney Shelly Krebs when adopting two of their children in Washington State. Krebs offered the couple the chance to jointly re-adopt the ten children for $1,500 – the amount it would have cost to do just one – thus ensuring that both fathers would appear on the birth certificates. The process was finalized in July, after Roger took ten of their children on a 4,248-mile road trip that traversed the West Coast.
GLAAD commends Esquire for not just honoring the Hams, but recognizing that being a quality father has nothing to do with sexual orientation. The Hams, who have been partners for nearly 19 years, are yet another example of how loving, committed same-sex couples cannotonly survive, but thrive, as parents. We encourage other media outlets to continue to share such stories of dedication and love.