A Son’s Birthday Present

Samantha & Nichole Beard | Mason, MI

On May 25 of this year, Nichole and Samantha welcomed their son, Clifford Patrick Beard, into the world. “We always knew that we wanted to have children,” Nichole said. “On our third wedding anniversary we found out we were pregnant!”

The two women were thrilled to finally have achieved their dream of building a family together, but one fact weighed heavily on them: their marriage was not respected in their home state of Michigan, so Nichole had no legal way to protect her own son.

One month and one day later, on June 26, everything changed. Nichole was at work, and, in the middle of the morning, her boss called her into her office. Nichole walked over, sat down, and her boss told her the news: the freedom to marry was now the law of the land, after the United States Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the rights and responsibilities of marriage.

“I immediately began to sob,” Nichole laughed. “I ran out of the office and called my wife – who was in the middle of getting our son ready to come surprise me at work.”

Samantha and Nichole met six years during a softball game. “The day we met, we both went home and told our roommates that we met our new best friend,” Nichole remembered. “We would spend hours driving around and talking about anything and everything.” 

After a few months of getting to know each other, it became clear that the two of them were destined to be more than just friends. They began falling in love, and the next year, Nichole came home after work to find Samantha on one knee, asking her to marry her.

One year later, the couple held an enormous commitment ceremony in Michigan, surrounded by 260 delighted guests. “The support and love was overwhelming,” Nichole said. “We both are extremely blessed to have very supportive family and friends.”

Then, in 2013, the couple decided it was time to legally tie the knot. They traveled to New York City and were married in the beautiful Strawberry Fields in Central Park – and, just one week after that, they bought their first home together. 

Now, with their beautiful son and their marriage finally respected in their home state, the couple finally feels like they’re accepted in their own home. “I cannot begin to describe how incredible it feels to have our marriage recognized here in Michigan,” Nichole said. “The amount of support we have received from the majority of Michigan residents has been incredible. My heart was filled with joy and relief.”

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