Spotlight Series sponsored by Quinny, a European stroller brand available in the United States.
TNF: Tell me about your family. Are you married? Do you have kids?
CHAD: My husband, Scott Parrish, and I were married in Massachusetts the first day it was legal in the United States. The same day as the 50th anniversary of Brown VS. The Board of Education. We got married at a little courthouse in Needham Mass and I think we were the only ones there. We got there a dawn to beat the rush but we were it. All the media circus focused around couples in Cambridge who had a three day waiting period before their marriages were actually recognized but since we went before a judge we got the three day waiting period waived so we may have been the first same-sex couple married in the United States.
We have 5 year old twins, Lukas & Olivia, who just started Kindergarten. We had kids through Gestational Surrogacy so one twin is biologically mine and the other Scott’s. We never did an official test but you can kind of tell by looking which is which.
TNF: How did you meet your partner?
CHAD: We met doing a cheesy Summer Theatre Musical called “The Boyfriend” in 1995 so we are coming up on our 20th Anniversary and we just had our 10th Anniversary of legal marriage. “The Boyfriend” was Julie Andrews broadway debut. How Gay is that? Little did I know I would get a “Boyfriend” that summer and begin the life I know today.
I know that some same-sex couples are not able to marry and might use the word “partner” but even before we were legally wed we used the word “husband.” I think if we want full equality in this country we need to use the correct words. “Partner” denotes some kind of business relationship and yes marriage is a financial commitment as well but the words Husband, Wife, or even Spouse leave no mystery or ambiguity to the relationship. And if it’s a new relationship just say my “boyfriend/girlfriend.” C’mom people words have meaning and bring about a desired result. If you want equality then act like it!
TNF: Do you feel different from other families? If so, how so?
CHAD: For the most part I don’t feel that different from other families. We live in a very tight family oriented community in Sunnyside Gardens, Queens. Even though there are hardly any gay couples with kids here (one other lesbian couple), everyone knows us and has welcomed us into the group. Sunnyside is home to the only Gay-Friendly St. Patricks Day Parade in New York City even though this is a very strong Irish Catholic neighborhood. The only time I would say I feel different is when I meet someone new and they ask “What does your wife do?” I guess because they’re wondering why a man would be taking his children to the park in the middle of the work day???
TNF: Where do you live? Is it tough being a gay couple where you live? Do you feel accepted?
CHAD: Sunnyside Gardens is a historic planned community from the 1920’s with quaint townhouses and apartment buildings with shared English-style garden courts. We live in a large three bedroom apartment overlooking the Gardens and our private membership Sunnyside Gardens Park. It is a great place to raise kids in the city. For New York City we have a lot of space as well as green space and exposure to nature.
TNF: What has having a family meant to you?
CHAD: Before having kids our neighborhood was just where we slept. We went to Manhattan for everything else work, play, even our gym was there. When we had kids we were suddenly part of a community.
I think having kids has brought a greater purpose to our lives, personally, politically, and professionally. Because of the kids we wear our identity on our sleeves. When the kids are with us there is no passing for straight or flying under the radar. They are attention magnets and I am so proud of who I am when I am with them because I am married and because I have Lukas & Olivia. As an example to them I would never want to show insecurity or apologize for being who I am. And I never want them to feel less than because they have two dads. As a result they are very confident kids who are a blast to be around.
TNF: Tell us anything else we should know.
CHAD: We are both from Ohio and were raised with traditional values which influences our respect for the ability to marry and our parenting style. We don’t take these privileges lightly. I am thankful everyday that I have Scott to ground me and that we can be a positive example for all marriages and leaders within the LGBT community.
I think you had also asked about our role in the media and in advertising. We like ads that feature diversity but still stay true to the product. I like a company like Honey Maid, Cheerios or Marriott that acknowledges all types of consumers and families that use their products. Those are the ones we choose to be involved with. I also like to work with companies that participate in equality within the workplace as well. It means a lot to us when a company offers same-sex spousal benefits. It’s definitely worth checking out before you buy a big ticket item like a car or a vacation.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with us!