In a world where 'feel good' stories hardly do the rounds or feature anymore, it is refreshing to come across one such story about two gay dads whose tale of love, is a true inspiration indeed.
Read on to find out more.
At that time, way back in the 1980's when the couple first met, Dan had just come out as being gay. He was also in the process of divorcing his then wife. Dan had a 4-year-old daughter named Jessie, whom due to the messy divorce situation he was in, he was only allowed to visit at his ex's house. Joseph on the other hand knew he was gay at the age of 10 already, and had been out since the age of 16.
In 1986, the then 23-year-old Joseph Melton applied for a chef's position at a supper club in the Hudson area, where Dan Clements (who was 30-years-old at the time) was a manager. Joseph got the job and it was Dan's responsibility to train him.
Both men have admitted that from the very beginning there was an instant attraction between them. They both shared an interest in Star Wars and so for their first date, Dan invited Joseph over to his house to watch a newly released Star Wars video ('Return of the Jedi'). Dan's daughter just happened to be over at her dad's house at the time. Joseph got the chance to not only fall in love with Dan, but with his daughter Jessie as well.
A few weeks after their first date, Dan and Joseph decided to move in together and as Joseph has reportedly said, "The rest is history". The couple has been together and inseparable ever since.
Once Dan's divorce was finalized, Jessie was primarily placed with his ex-wife. The guys however did everything they could to see as much of Jessie as possible. Over a period of time, Dan and Joseph managed to work out a custody arrangement with Jessie's mom which enabled them to have Jessie live with them for half of every week. This arrangement continued until Jessie was in her teens, at which time she could make her own choice of where she wished to live full-time. Jessie chose her two dads and because of her choice, she moved in with them on a permanent basis.
The couple and their daughter Jessie moved around for a few years, eventually settling down on a small family farm in Spooner. Now retired from their careers in the food industry, Dan and Joseph run a charming little upholstery shop out of their picture perfect country home.
Twelve years ago, Jessie gave the couple their first grandson, Aidan. "Aidan was like a son to me, having never had biological children of my own", says Joseph. Being a single parent at the time of Aidan's birth, Jessie chose to live with her dads for four years before moving, with her son, to a town called Baldwin. Although Baldwin is 90 minutes away from Spooner, Dan and Joseph still manage to see Jessie and Aidan quite often.
Three years ago, on their 28th anniversary together, Dan and Joseph were legally married in Minnesota since same-sex marriage had just been legalized in that State. The couple explained that they had been together for so long that they have always considered themselves as being married, however once same-sex marriage became legalized, the couple decided they wanted to "take the plunge".
Dan and Joseph have been described as being "quite an unusual couple" in that they spend most of their time together and they rarely argue.
Last year the couple hosted a gay foreign exchange student from Madrid named Rafa, whom they welcomed with open arms, and treated as their own son. The visit to America had a very positive impact on Rafa in that Joseph and Dan served as excellent role models for the boy.
Dan and Joseph have the following advice to give to those who are facing non-acceptance (for being gay) from their families: "Try and surround yourself with people who love and support you; hopefully over time, your family with come around." They go on to add that their advice to their 'younger gay selves' and other youngsters facing issues with coming out would be: "Never be afraid or ashamed of who or what you are. Love and respect yourself."
Wow, how inspiring indeed!