Tevin and Tyler Johnson-Campion paid close attention growing up to the arguments used against same-sex parents and their families. The twins were raised by gay dads.
“I have heard gay parents will 'teach their kids the gay agenda,'” Tevin said in an interview BuzzFeed News. "That is a crock of —" he stopped before finishing the sentence. “I don’t know where people get half the stuff they talk about.”
“For the longest time, people were coming out and making these assumptions that the offspring of gay couples are going to be screwed up, less smart, dumb, and not as socially developed." But his family, he said, shows “exactly the opposite."
The family is now under a magnifying glass as the parents, Randy Johnson and Paul Campion, are two plaintiffs in cases from four states being heard Tuesday before the Supreme Court. The couple got married in California in 2004; their suit asks Kentucky to recognize that marriage.
Tevin is documenting the family trip to Washington, D.C., on a Tumblr called "Making History With My Two Dads."
In both social and legal arguments, critics have often contended that gay couples make subpar parents, with states opposing same-sex marriage because it undermines procreation and groups like the Family Research Council claiming kids of gay parents “are more likely to experience gender and sexual disorders.” In the Supreme Court case, the state of Kentucky claims that blocking same-sex marriage will promote higher birth rates, thereby “ensuring the future of the human race."
Tyler said he hope the court sees "we are just like any other family. There are these two adults who love us very, very much, and they have done everything in their power to raise us just like any other parents, like a man and woman would with their kids.”
Tyler goes to school at the University of Cincinnati, studying theater, and Tevin is studying journalism at the University of Louisville, where he is a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity. Their dads are also raising 16-year-old DeSean and 11-year-old Mackenzie.
Rather than same-sex parents being a liability, in fact, Tevin and Tyler see gay parents being a windfall for kids like them. After all, they point out, gay parents adopt deliberately instead of having children by accident.
“When my parents adopted black babies, they did it before it was cool,” Tevin said, only half-joking. “With the heart and soul of a gay couple, and them wanting kids, you know that they are going to make the most loving parents. People are getting pregnant all the time who are not fit to be parents. Tyler and I have done very well in school; socially we are doing very, very well. I can’t say that would have happened unless we were adopted by our parents.”
“If Tyler and I were born in the circumstances that we born into and stayed in those circumstances," Tevin continued, "then our lives would have turned out a lot different. I do credit my parents to raising us into the men that we are today. And I hope the Supreme Court can see that as well.”
If anything, Tevin added, “What has screwed us up is the bigotry and intolerance from other people.”
The twins had their first taste of discrimination when they were six years old.
"The YMCA would not allow my parents to be on the same family membership plan," Tevin wrote in a Tumblr post, which accompanies the same photo at the top of this article. The photo was taken at the twins' first rally. "They required us to have two memberships, which would cost us double for the same damn benefits. My brother and I spent our week handing out flyers to people trying to get them to tell the YMCA that this was wrong. Ultimately, the YMCA over turned their policy, but this was the first time I realized that my family was different."
Many court-watchers expect the court to rule in favor of marriage equality, but, said Tyler, “If they rule against marriage equality, it means more fighting until they do. When black people were denied their rights, they just kept going, and that is what we are going to do. This matters so much to so many people.”