ORRINGTON, Maine — As LGBTQ issues are thrust back into the national political spotlight, same-sex couples are having to navigate new and intense rhetoric, all as they try to navigate the complexities of everyday parenthood.
Sean Weber and his partner Daniel Higgins are raising a family in Maine.
The two have been together for the better part of 17 years. They call Orrington home. It's a small community of about 3,000 people. Both Weber and Higgins grew up in small towns and had very different experiences coming out.
"I told my parents and my dad kicked me out," Higgins said.
" I never had to officially come out because this is who I am," Weber explained.
They are now a family of six — with two kids out of college and two teenagers at home. The struggles of everyday parenthood are plenty. But as members of the LGBTQ community, Sean and Daniel also have to navigate the complexities of being gay while raising kids at a time there are numerous anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation making the rounds.
They do their best to help their kids understand things.
"That's one of the things we've always told our kids. Be who you are. Doesn't matter who. Just be yourself that's all," Weber said.
Both Weber and his partner are not despondent about the future for themselves or their kids.
"We're on the other end of the LGBTQ spectrum, we see a lot of positive stuff about how we're treated, respected, and included. The school knows we're gay they have no problems with it whatsoever," he added.
Their town bucks the kind of stereotypes most people might have when it comes to acceptance of the gay community.
"It's showing that acceptance is expanding more and more every day, which is very good," Weber said.
From experience, the men know that just like any other family, they will continue to face ups and downs. But even amidst some less than welcoming political rhetoric right now, they are hopeful their kids grow up seeing the beauty of the world around them.
"The youth are coming up and saying we're done, we're OK with this and I feel relief in a way and that they'll be putting a lot of that stuff to rest for us."