Thirteen years ago, and halfway around the world, Huw and Eric immediately clicked.
“When we met, both of us felt that being together was right for us – we just ‘fit,’” said Huw, a British physician.
They met in London, when Eric was training to be a doctor. After Eric’s training there ended, Huw chose to move with him to North Carolina. In 2007 – the same year they held a civil partnership ceremony in the United Kingdom – Eric and Huw accepted jobs in Arizona.
“Eric and I are truly partners in every way,” Huw said. “We have the same love, commitment and respect for each other that exists in all happy marriages. We feel that we are pretty unexciting and conventional in our values, frankly.”
After arriving in Arizona, Huw and Eric decided to start a family. They wanted to offer at-risk children the opportunity to grow up in a loving home and began by adopting their 4-year-old son, who was born in Tucson.
“When I did my pediatrics rotations, I was always struck and saddened by the many children who would end up being taken into custody by Child Protective Services,” Eric said.
“Daddy Eric” and “Daddy Huw,” as they are known to their kids, have since adopted a second son and three daughters who range in age from 5 to 8. The delight on the children’s faces in the courtroom on adoption day brought everyone present to tears – even their attorney.
Completing the legal adoption process made a huge difference in their children’s lives by providing them an enduring sense of security. “Being able to marry in Arizona would provide our family with even greater protection,” Eric said.
The couple said they didn’t know how their co-workers would react to the adoptions. As it turned out, their medical and nursing colleagues were exceedingly supportive, even staging surprise adoption parties!
“Not a day passes without someone at work asking how the kids are, even three years on,” Huw said. “It’s just incredibly touching. Neither their friends’ moms and dads, nor their teachers turn a hair. Their birthday invitations and play dates are like everyone else’s.”
“They have an incredible, stable relationship and since they’ve begun to take care of their children, have shown to be amazing parents,” Mike said. “My wife and I observe Eric and Huw with their family every few months and we admire the values they instill in their children and in their home.”
All four grandparents talk to Huw and Eric’s children regularly over the phone and visit them in Phoenix as often as possible.“Everyone wants a grandma to cuddle up to and a grandpa to go fishing with,” Huw said. “Making sure our children have an active relationship with their grandparents is very important to us.”
“We tease the children about how we look forward to them making us grandparents too,” Eric said. “We often talk as a family about our children graduating from college, enjoying our retirement, and growing old with one another.”
“I never tire of Eric’s company,” Huw said. “I enjoy spending time with him and look forward to being with him for the rest of my life. We both believe in the strength of the family as a vital unit of society. We just want to be able to have the same protections and responsibilities as any other couple who chose to marry the person that they love.”
“Our hope is that Arizona will soon allow us to marry and for the state to recognize the commitment we’ve made to each other and the family that we’ve built here,” Eric explained.
Loving, committed couples like Eric and Huw are treated as second-class citizens in their home state of Arizona. It is time for Arizonans to come together and support all families.