TNF: Tell me about your family. Are you married? Do you have kids?
CARI: Denise and I are married, we got married during the controversial court ruling in Utah in December 2013. We are patiently waiting the case to get through the supreme court so our marriage can be recognized and legal in the state. We have been together for 5 years, and between the two of us have 7 kids. 4 girls, 3 boys, all ranging in age from 6-18. We are truly blessed. Our household and schedules are hectic but we have amazing kids and we love to spend time with them. We enjoying hunting, hiking, camping, riding atv’s. Pretty much anything outdoors. We enjoy spending time in our yard and we love to just be home.
TNF: How did you meet your wife?
CARI: Denise and I met in high school, we grew up in the same town. We coached an undefeated JV softball team right after high school and then we didn’t see each other again for almost 10 years. I ended up buying a motorcycle from her and our friendship was instantly re-kindled, and we have been inseparable since then.
TNF: Do you feel different from other families? If so, how so?
CARI: We do feel different from other families, in that we are not part of the mormon faith. Our kids are, they attend church with extended family, but Denise and I are not. The town we live in is predominantly mormon, and we are 1 of only 2 or 3 other families like us. In that sense, we are different, but in every other sense of “family”, we are the same. We have a mortgage, we pay taxes, we work, we deal with kids and drama and all of the same things that other families deal with. Another way I feel we are different, is that we are definitely raising our kids more open minded than most. We teach our children to love and be open minded of people who are different than them, and to stand up for who and what they believe in. We try to broaden their horizons more than most by letting them experience different ideas, cultures and people. We want them to be well-rounded open minded compassionate people and it is hard to do that when living in a sheltered little mormon town.
TNF: Where do you live? Is it tough being a gay couple where you live? Do you feel accepted?
CARI: We live in Blanding, Utah which is a very small town in the southeast corner of Utah. We both grew up here and are now raising our kids here. It is tough being here, however, we have experienced kindness and acceptance from more people than we thought we ever would. We have had very little negative comments (to our faces) and the kids for the most part are accepted and treated well. We have our issues just like everyone else, but we try to navigate them the best we can, and most of all make sure our kids know that we love and support them and we are a family and none of the rest of it matters. Honestly we have had more problems with our own extended families not accepting us than we have the citizens of the community. We feel like we don’t have a support group of any kind and we are the only family we know of who are “out and proud”.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with us!