Meet Pennsylvania Families: Dara Raspberry and Helena Miller

updatedphotodarahelenaHelena, a teacher and education consultant, and Dara, an emergency room doctor, have been a couple for seven years and were married in Connecticut on September 25, 2010.

Helena, 40, 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.

“When Zivah was born, it was the most incredible day of our lives. We love her so much,” Dara said. “We had to complete the process for me to become Zivah’s second legal parent, and it was very time consuming and costly. During this time Zivah, only had one legally recognized parent. If our marriage were recognized in Pennsylvania, I would have automatically been recognized as one of her legal parents. Not having our daughter fully protected is very upsetting.”

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 us that our marriage be recognized in Pennsylvania, not only because of the concrete protections it would provide to us and our daughter, but also because we feel that being treated as an unmarried couple disrespects the commitment we have made to one another and devalues our family,” Helena said. “We hope that our marriage will be recognized in Pennsylvania before our baby is old enough to be aware that the state does not consider her family deserving of the same respect afforded to other families.”

Couples like Dara and Helena can’t wait any longer to share in the freedom to marry in Pennsylvania. They’ve built a life here, they’re raising a family here — and it’s time for the laws of our state to protect all families who call the Keystone State home.

CLICK HERE to sign the petition to support the freedom to marry in Pennsylvania.