Meet Arizona Families: Tommy Stovall and Marc Sterling

tommy_az2Marc and I have been together for 18 wonderful years. And whatever we do, we do it as a team, as a family.

When we first met, we bonded over our love for tennis. We shared many common interests and at the time we both worked in the tax accounting business. Today, even though I’ve made a career change into film, we still work together, with Marc producing the films I make.

Five years into our relationship, Marc and I decided we wanted to embark on parenthood. At the time we resided in Texas and had to take extraordinary legal means in order to ensure that we would both be viewed as parents according to the law.

Because Marc and I are considered nothing more than legal strangers under the law, we had to adopt our son Trevor separately—not jointly as a couple. It wasn’t easy to find a judge who was willing to work with us through the legal maneuvers required to make us both Trevor’s parents. But 13 years ago, all of our hard work paid off as we welcomed Trevor into our lives and our family. Shortly afterward we chose Sedona, Arizona as the place we wanted to raise our son and start our family.

Our family is just like any other family—we love to spend time together. Now, that Trevor is 13, we have more time with just the two of us, but when he was growing up, we coached his sports teams, took him to work with us when he was a baby and tried to go on at least one family vacation every year. And we still love to play tennis together.

From the outside, our family isn’t much different than other Arizona families. But because Arizona denies the freedom to marry to same-sex couples, our family is not recognized for what we are—a family. It hurts knowing that the 18 years we’ve spent together is not enough for the state of Arizona to recognize our union. And we worry what kind of message it sends to our son knowing that his family is not recognized in the state we call home.

Marc and I have been through everything together and we have created a beautiful life and home to raise our son. All we want is for the state of Arizona to finally extend the freedom to marry to all loving couples so that someday very soon, we can publicly declare the love and commitment we’ve shared for nearly two decades.

Tommy Stovall lives in Sedona, Arizona with his husband Marc and son Trevor. He works as a filmmaker.