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Gay couple living American dream

They fear Prop. 8 threatens their civil rights

Posted: October 29, 2008 8:34 p.m.
Updated: December 31, 2008 5:00 a.m.

The Galluccios - from left to right, Madison, Adam, Michael and Jon - prepare and eat dinner together every night. Michael and Jon fear passage of Prop. 8 will diminish their civil liberties.

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The Galluccio family doesn’t look much different than most American families — except two dads head the household.

“We sit down for dinner. We even say grace,” said Jon Galluccio, 45.

Jon and Michael Galluccio are a gay couple and the parents of three adopted children.

A recent Yes on Prop. 8 rally left the Galluccio’s steaming.

“Why is my life, liberty and my pursuit of happiness a threat to anyone?” said Michael Galluccio, 46.

The No on 8 sign stands in their front yard as their adoptive children run through their Stevenson Ranch home.

“We had to sue the state of New Jersey to adopt Adam (the couple’s teenage son),” Jon Gallucccio said.

The successful class action lawsuit earned the couple a spot on "Larry King Live" and a book deal. “An American Family” tells the story of the couple’s struggle to adopt children.

The couple adopted three children, two who were born drug dependent and HIV-exposed. The extra challenges with adopting special-needs children is all in a day’s work, Michael Galluccio said.

“Our need to be parents was as strong as their need for parents,” he said.

Jon Galluccio gave up a career and was a stay-at-home dad. Michael worked for the Walt Disney Company in New York and in 2007 the company transferred him to Burbank. With the legal battle behind them the Gallucccios focused on homework, curfews and parenting.

“After the book we decided to focus on our children and not being activists,” Jon Galluccio said.

When Proposition 8 was put on the ballot the couple was dragged back into the fray, he said.

“I want the people in this community to see us and say here’s what you are fighting. How has us living near you hurt you?” Jon Galluccio said.

The couple married in an Episcopal Church ceremony 13 years ago. The marriage was not recognized by any state. The couple had an official state marriage at a friend’s home Aug. 12 in the Santa Clarita Valley.
The couple enjoys married life and wants to preserve that right for future generations,

“Someday she’ll be grown,” he said pointing to Madison Galluccio, his 11-year-old daughter. “My job as a parent is to make a world that she fits in to.”

The Proposition 8 battle cuts deep into the Galluccio family, Michael Galluccio said.

Madison Galluccio is a sixth-grader at Pico Canyon Elementary School in Stevenson Ranch. She chose to use her parents’ book for a class report on heroes.

“My teacher saw the book and said it looked great,” Madison Galluccio said.

Then a phone call from the school district upset Jon Galluccio.

“I was told by the school that every sixth-grader will be sent home with a letter stating that Madison is giving this oral report,” Jon Galluccio said.

He talked with his daughter about changing the topic to something less controversial. “She said, ‘absolutely not. I am doing this report’,” Jon Galluccio said as tears rolled down his face.

Jon Galluccio is waiting to see the content of the letter before deciding whether Madison will give her report.

“It’s the responsibility of an 11-year-old girl to teach diversity,” Michael Galluccio said.

Madison and Adam Galluccio, a 14-year-old special-needs student, set the table as their parents cooked dinner. Jon Galluccio cut the lettuce as Michael Galluccio played with his new iPhone.

“We are as traditional as any American family,” Michael Galluccio said.

He knows all those who support Proposition 8 don’t hate gay or lesbian people. But tolerance is not what he is looking for.

“It hurts to be tolerated,” he said.

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