New Columbus Nonprofit Supports Same-Sex Parents and Families

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly
Joe Matessa, left, with his husband, Billy Molasso, and their sons

When Joe Matessa andhis husband, Billy Molasso,decided they wanted to adopt children, they knew they'd need to move someplace where laws were favorable to same-sex parents. Before leaving Chicago for Washington, D.C., six years ago, they happened upon Rainbow Families DC, an organization that offers support and education to LGBT families.

"They gave us so many resources we needed to start that process," Matessa says. So when he and his family-which had doubled in size-moved to Columbus two years ago, Matessa wanted to offer that same help to families here.

Enter Family Pride Network, which debuted at this year's Pride Festival. The nonprofit helps LGBT families and prospective parents navigate the often tricky world of same-sex parenting. Matessa says they'll help members with tasks like selecting adoption agencies and child care centers that are friendly toward same-sex couples, and exploring options like in vitro fertilization.

Though the recent Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide does make those processes a bit easier, Matessa says, some questions are still tough to answer.

"It's really important to provide parents with legal resources to work through their unique situations," he says, "to help those prospective parents who want to start families and give them a pathway to get there."

The organization will also serve as a social network for LGBT families.

"The things I have found parents want most are social events-events that will get them together and their kids together to enjoy time with one another," he says.

"It's important for kids with LGBT parents to be exposed to other kids who have LGBT parents," Matessa says. "My kids are 6; they've always been exposed to families like ours. When their peers or even other adults ask them about their two daddies, they respond naturally and matter of fact. They speak with confidence and conviction."

Next month, Family Pride Network will host an educational conference with two programming tracks: one for families and the other for prospective parents.