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Celebrity Chef Art Smith Becoming A Father, Sparking Parents Equality Day In Chicago

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ART SMITH
Chef Art Smith at the second Lyfe Kitchen grand opening celebration on Friday, March 8, 2013 in Culver City, CA. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Zapwater Communications/AP Images) | Eric Charbonneau/Invision/AP

A private conversation between Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and celebrity chef Art Smith has sparked something much larger.

When Smith ran into Emanuel at a recent event and shared that he and his husband of almost five years, artist Jesus Salgueiro, were planning to adopt four siblings they have been fostering -- two girls and two boys, ages 5 to 11 -- the mayor asked what he could do for their family. Smith asked the mayor to acknowledge the city's LGBT families and Emanuel is coming through in a big way, proclaiming Friday, June 20 as Parents Equality Day in the city of Chicago.

"Every child deserves to grow up in a loving home with parents who teach them the values of compassion, diversity, celebrating differences, and treating everyone with respect," the proclamation states. "No parent regardless of who they love, should ever be treated as second class citizens in a society that was founded on the fundamental principal of equality for everyone under the law."

Smith, the chef behind Table 52 and LYFE Kitchen, told HuffPost the mayor's proclamation was meaningful considering that adoption for same-sex couples can still be tricky in some parts of the country -- including the state where he was born, where a ban on gay adoption was overturned in 2010, though same-sex marriages remain illegal there.

"LGBT adoptions are still tough, my own home state of Florida doesn't recognize my marriage or my kids, but my adopted state does," Smith said.

He hopes that Parents Equality Day will one day be observed nationally.

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