Real 'Modern Family': Two Gay Moms, One Gay Dad and a Whole Lot of Love

The Berman-Cotlar family was 'created out of love.'

February 17, 2011, 7:59 AM

Feb. 17, 2011 — -- With two moms and two boys, the Berman-Cotlar family of Boulder, Colorado is not your typical family of four.

"My family is modern because we were created out of love and not determined by what society told us to do," said Holli Berman.

Holli Berman and Marcia Cotlar have 10-year-old twins named Jaron and Seth.

"The ingredients for a family are kindness and love, friendship and understanding," said Seth.

In real life, just like on the series "Modern Family," a gay family experiences different situations than most families, like when the twins call upstairs for their mother.

"If the wrong one answers I say, I say 'OTHER mom'," said Jaron.

"One gives me lots of candy, one doesn't," said Seth.

"It's kind of good I have two moms because one of my moms has a lot of treats, the other would never have me see candy until Halloween," said Jaron.

It took a long time for the Berman-Cotlar family to come together. More than 30 years ago, Marcia Cotlar met Frank Zwinklis in Rhode Island. But when they hit their 20's, life took them separate ways.

"It was the end of our senior year in high school. I was a short order cook and Marcia was a waitress," said Zwinklis.

Cotlar got married to another man and had a daughter. But as years went by, eventually both Zwinklis and Cotlar realized they were gay.

Fifteen years ago, Cotlar met Berman, and their relationship as a couple began.

"I feel like I found the person that has been able to help me be the person I'm supposed to be. And I can support her to be able to be who she's supposed to be," said Cotlar.

They got married in 1998, and there was one thing they immediately wanted to do – have children.

"When we were looking at having children we were looking for a donor who we wouldn't know," said Marcia.

But Zwinklis volunteered.

"Frank was there was to hold them first and he looked in their eyes and said, 'we have to figure out a schedule, I have to be here,'" said Cotlar.

So Jaron and Seth have two moms and a dad - three gay parents and a stepsister Lauren. They are one big happy family.

"They have six grandparents they have many many many cousins," said Berman.

"My family [is] like everyone else 'cause I do what every other 10-year- old in the USA does… I wake up get ready for school go to school do stuff after school…even though I have gay parents that does not affect what I do at all," said Jaron.

The Berman Boys Don't Just Have Two Moms, They Also Have a Dad

Frank lives nearby and spends every Sunday alone with the boys. He is very active in their lives.

Being a father has been a very moving experience for Zwinklis.

"They are the most important things in my own world," said Zwinklis.

"My dad's an awesome dad," said Jaron. "I'm happy he's my dad."

Of course, their type of family raises more than eyebrows. Not everyone supports gay marriage, or having a family like this one. Gay marriage itself has been a hotly debated national issue, and is only legal in a handful of states.

The Berman-Cotlars are not alone. Many gay families entered 'GMA''s search for real modern families from all over the country, including a family in Florida of two gay men and two lesbians raising children together.

Two weeks ago, a video went viral on YouTube: In front of Iowa lawmakers, 19-year-old Zach Wahls stated his case for his two moms. His speech earned him a round of applause and many fans on Facebook.

Seth and Jaron haven't been confronted yet by any opposition to their family.

"Anybody I've said it to has had no bigger reaction than 'oh,'" said Jaron.

But it sounds like Jaron and Seth are ready for whatever life brings.

"Nothing except for the fact that there are two moms that live in the same house that makes us any different than anyone else," said Jaron.

"And there's nothing wrong with being different," added Seth.

"I think they'll be open to knowing all kinds of people," said Berman. "I think they will be wonderful husbands and fathers to whomever they are husbands and fathers to, and I think that they will quietly change the world."

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