Photo: Brian Finke

Not many people get to go to their own parents' wedding; it's usually something you grow up imagining or seeing in photos. But on the morning of May 17, 2004, at the age of 15, I got to see the two people who had raised me from birth exchange vows. My parents had been looking forward to the day for 24 years, since nearly a decade before I was even born. But until I stood there with them, I hadn't fully grasped how significant their wedding would be to other people as well—people we didn’t even know—simply because they were one of the first same-sex couples in the entire country to be legally married.

To be honest, I never thought of my parents—Maureen Brodoff and Ellen Wade—as trailblazers. And that sunny spring morning started out pretty ordinary: We woke up in our house in Newton, just outside Boston. We put on the clothes we had picked out the night before and headed to the mayor's office. I was wearing a light blue floral skirt, Mom Maureen was in a black feathery sort of outfit, and Mom Ellen was in something off-white and chic. I thought they looked stunning—not overdone, just classic and beautiful.

We knew the wedding would attract publicity because it was historic: Massachusetts had become the first state to legalize gay marriage that very day, and my parents were the first same-sex couple in Newton to be married. They had been among 14 plaintiffs in the case that led to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling that granted gays and lesbians the right to marry.

We crammed into the mayor's teeny office, surrounded by a dozen or more reporters and photographers. There were more strangers in the room than people we knew! My clearest memory is of flashbulbs going off as my parents and I stood in a small circle in front of the mayor's desk, while a justice of the peace conducted the ceremony. When we walked out of City Hall, my parents hand in hand, it was like a movie; there were hundreds of people outside, and they started cheering. The amount of support and sheer joy around us that day felt amazing.

Not that our family hadn’t been in the news before. When I was four, Mom Ellen—I used to call Ellen "Mommy" and Maureen "Mom," but now I call them both "Mom" and add their names when I want to distinguish between them—legally adopted me in a landmark case that became known as the Adoption of Susan (the court changed my name to protect my identity). My parents had gone to a donor insemination program, and Mom Maureen had given birth to me—but at the time only one partner in a same-sex relationship could be a child's legal guardian. The Adoption of Susan case changed that in Massachusetts, and allowed two women, or men, to raise children together.

But nonetheless, all the fuss and publicity on their wedding day struck me as kind of odd. My parents had always seemed "married" to me, happily so. It was—and still is—hard for me to understand why some people are so opposed to gay marriage. For me, it's just been a normal life.