Helena, a teacher and education consultant, and Dara, an emergency room doctor, have been a couple for six years and were married in Connecticut on September 25, 2010. Helena, 39, and Dara, 43, moved from New York to Philadelphia in the fall of 2011 because they were hoping to have children and wanted to be closer to their families.
Helena and Dara’s dream to start a family came true on May 28, 2013, when Helena gave birth to their daughter, Zivah. They’ve started the process for Dara to become Zivah’s second legal parent, but it’s going to be expensive and will take at least six months, during which time Zivah will have only one legally recognized parent. If their marriage were recognized in Pennsylvania, Dara would have automatically been recognized as one of her legal parents.
Sadly, the cost to Helena and Dara of moving to Pennsylvania to be close to family was to be effectively “unmarried” and, thus, considered less of a family in the eyes of the state. It is important to Helena and Dara that their marriage be recognized in Pennsylvania not only because of the concrete protections it would provide to them and their daughter, but also because they feel that being treated as an unmarried couple disrespects the commitment they have made to one another and devalues their family. They hope that their marriage will be recognized in Pennsylvania before their baby is old enough to be aware that the state does not consider her family deserving of the same respect afforded to other families.