Though they reside in a state where same-sex couples can't wed or adopt, two Arizona-based gay fathers are making national headlines after successfully challenging a series of legal restrictions in becoming an official family despite the odds.
Arizona Central reports that Steven and Roger Ham, who have been together for nearly 19 years, have 12 adopted children. No doubt raising such a large brood comes with its own set of challenges, but given the lack of rights afforded to same-sex couples in the Hams' home state, the complex legalese is considerably more daunting.
After an intense legal process and a little help from Washington state-based attorney Shelly Krebs, each of the 12 children now have both men's names on their birth certificates as of July 13 -- not an easy task in a state where same-sex partners are usually barred from adopting their partner's children.
ABC reported in 2011 that the Hams' journey began with just one child, Michael, who was then five years old. "I twisted Roger's arm to get one child," Steve is quoted as saying. "We went through process of adoption in the state of Arizona and it just escalated from that point."
Both Steven and Roger (who, as Philadelphia Magazine points out, have welcomed 30 foster kids into their home over the years) were also recently rewarded with a unique honor -- being named to Esquire's list of the 10 best dads of 2012.
The Hams' triumph comes as a pleasant antidote to last week's controversy over same-sex parenting and adoption. On Aug. 8, the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer sparked the ire of a number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates after he called for an "underground railroad" to "deliver innocent children" from gay households.
On Twitter, Fischer also pointed to the alleged kidnapping of 10-year-old Isabella Miller-Jenkins. Jenkins was reportedly taken to Nicaragua by her mother, Lisa Miller, who lost a series of family court battles in Vermont with Janet Jenkins, her former lesbian partner. The New York Times reported that Miller has been assisted by evangelical groups who endorsed her decision to abduct her daughter rather than expose her to Jenkins' "homosexual lifestyle."
Eating A Ham Sandwich
Lunch time? Leviticus 11:7-8 reads: <blockquote>And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.</blockquote>
Thinking of getting the Superman insignia on your bicep? Leviticus 19:28 states: <blockquote>Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.</blockquote>
Off to the barber? Leviticus 19:27 states: <blockquote>Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.</blockquote>
Men With Injured Or Cut Off Private Parts Entering Houses Of God
It's bad enough if you're a man who has had his private parts injured -- or heaven forbid cut off -- but to add insult to injury, Deuteronomy 23:1 states: <blockquote>He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.</blockquote>
Have you ever had your palm read? Or maybe you've consulted your horoscope for a little guidance? Leviticus 19:31 reads: <blockquote>Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.</blockquote> Photo by zopdeep on <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcpucho/318112432/sizes/m/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a>
Heard some juicy news about Harold in the accounting department? Can't wait to tell your BFF that you just read that Snooki is pregnant? Leviticus 19:16 states: <blockquote>Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour; I am the LORD.</blockquote> Photo by JoeInSouthernCA on <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/joebehr/4744688383/sizes/z/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a>
Wives Helping Out Their Husbands In A Fight
Gentlemen -- if you ever get in a fight and you get the feeling your lady might jump in and lend you a hand by squeezing your opponent's... ahem... "secrets," you'd better stop her. Deuteronomy 25:11-12 states: <blockquote>When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.</blockquote>
Children Cursing Their Parents
Kids these days -- you never know what's going to come out of their mouths! But hopefully your child doesn't curse you because Exodus 21:17 states: <blockquote>"And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death."</blockquote>
Getting Remarried After Getting Divorced
When it comes to the Bible, this is a big no-no (unless your spouse was cheating on you): Mark 10:11-12 states: <blockquote>Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.</blockquote>
Working On The Sabbath
In our fast-paced society, does anyone really work Monday to Friday from 9-5? Exodus 31:14-15 states: <blockquote>"Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.</blockquote>
Women Speaking In Houses Of God
Headed to church, ladies? 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 states: <blockquote>Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.</blockquote>
Eating Shrimp, Lobster, And Other Assorted Seafood
Craving a big bowl of popcorn shrimp? Leviticus 10-11 states: <blockquote>And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.</blockquote> Photo by jeffreyw on <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffreyww/5833838507/sizes/z/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a>
Losing Your Virginity Before You Get Married
Today it might be harder to find a bride who is a virgin rather than the other way around. But Deuteronomy 22:20-21 states: <blockquote>But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you</blockquote>