Mpls. gay couple, sons included in Easter celebration at White House

  • Article by: JEFF STRICKLER and PATRICE RELERFORD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 11, 2009 - 7:58 AM

Gay families have participated in the annual Easter Egg Roll before, but this year is the first time invitations have been extended.

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Tim Meyer, Mark Funk and their three sons -- Rudy, Andres and Pablo -- will attend the Easter egg roll on the South Lawn of the White House, the first year that gay families have been officially invited to the annual event.

Photo: Mark Funk and Tim Meyer, Star Tribune

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A Minneapolis family is about to become a part of history. On Monday, Tim Meyer, Mark Funk and their three sons -- Rudy, Andres and Pablo -- will attend the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House, the first year that gay families have been officially included.

"We use the term 'intentionally' invited," Meyer said before the family left for Washington. The Bush administration unknowingly invited the first gay and lesbian families to the event in 2006, according to the Family Equality Council, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) family advocacy group.

The Obama administration called on the group to encourage its supporters to apply for tickets to the event. The council estimates that at least 100 LGBT families will participate.

"President Obama specifically sought us out," Meyer said. "We got a call two Sundays ago that said they extended the tickets to 50 more people. We got five of the tickets.

"This is the first time the White House has specifically reached out to gay families. It's a big deal."

He doesn't know what to expect other than, "I know that there are going to be hundreds of families there. It's not going to be just us and the Obamas."

Meyer and Funk, of Minneapolis, adopted Rudy, 9, from Guatemala in January 2001. His brothers, 9-year-old twins Andres and Pablo, came from Guatemala in October 2002.

The Meyer-Funk family belongs to Mayflower Church in south Minneapolis. Meyer is a self-employed health care executive. Funk is a teacher and part-time real estate agent.

"We're a busy family," Meyer said. "We [Mark and I] have been together a long time. It'll be 11 years at the end of April."

The kids are "old enough to realize what's going on and are very excited about it," he said. Besides going to the White House, "they want to go to the U.S. Capitol so they can see the spot where Obama was sworn in."

The family's friends are excited, too. "They all ask, 'Do you think you'll get to meet Michelle Obama?'" he said with a chuckle. "No one ever asks about the president, it's always about the First Lady."

The Egg Roll also is expected to feature the public debut of the new First Dog, likely a purebred Portuguese Water Dog.

jstrickler@startribune.com 612-673-7392 prelerford@startribune.com 612-673-4395

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