Basketball stars are third high-profile lesbian couple to have spring wedding

Posted on 29 Apr 2014 at 5:20pm
Michelle and Beth Wedding

Michelle and Beth Brooke Marciniak (Outsports)

Forget the June weddings. Spring is obviously the season of choice for power lesbians to marry. Roseanne star Sara Gilbert married rocker Linda Perry in March, and then last weekend, two-time-Oscar-winner Jodi Foster married Alexandra Hedison.

E! Online reported Foster and Hedison had been dating for almost a year, and the entertainment site took note of the relationship last September after photos of Foster spending time with Hedison, a photographer/actress and an ex-girlfriend of Ellen DeGeneres.

But let’s not stop there. Michelle Marciniak, who led Tennessee to the women’s college basketball championship in 1996, and Beth Brooke, the first woman to receive a basketball scholarship at Purdue, were married this month in New York, Outsports reported.

In their post-basketball careers, both women have gone on to great business success. Marciniak was known as “Spinderella” for her creative style of play under volunteer coach Pat Summitt, and went on to play in the WNBA before becoming an assistant as South Carolina. She is co-founder of the bedding fabric company SHEEX.

Brooke, a top executive with Ernst & Young named by Forbes one of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, made news in 2012 when she came out publicly as gay in an “It Gets Better” video. “I’m gay and I’ve struggled with that for many years,” she said.

Here is the couple’s official wedding announcement:

Beth A. Brooke and Michelle M. Marciniak of Bethlehem, Pa., were lovingly married on April 17, 2014, at The Office of the City Clerk in New York City, N.Y. Michelle’s mother, Elizabeth “Betsy” Marciniak of Macungie, Pa., served as the witness, while Angel L. Lopez, officiated the wedding.

Mrs. Beth Brooke-Marciniak is the Global Vice Chair – Public Policy for EY (formerly Ernst & Young).  In addition, she is EY’s global sponsor for Diversity and Inclusiveness and a prominent advocate for the benefits of inclusive leadership and growth. She is spearheading the EY Women Athletes Business Network by harnessing the often untapped leadership potential of elite female athletes after their retirement from sport by connecting the two in ways that better enable athletes to pivot after sport.  Beth, involved in numerous civic boards and causes, has been named six times to the Forbes list of the “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.”  She served in the first Clinton Administration and played intercollegiate women’s basketball for Purdue University, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in industrial management/computer science, and also received an honorary doctorate degree.

She is the daughter of the late Howard J. Millard and E. Mary Millard formerly of Kokomo, Ind., where Beth was an academic and athletic standout at Taylor High School.  Her mother currently resides at Sacred Heart in Center Valley, Pa.

Mrs. Michelle Brooke-Marciniak is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of SHEEX, Inc., the world’s first globally patented performance fabric bedding with company offices in Irmo, S.C. and New York City.  The Aspen Institute took note of her ambitious approach to entrepreneurship and included her in the 2014 Class of Henry Crown Fellows which mobilizes a new breed of leaders, all under the age of 45, to tackle the world’s most intractable problems.  Michelle, along with fellow SHEEX Co-Founder and Co-CEO Susan Walvius, were recognized by receiving an EY Winning Women Award, a prestigious honor celebrating the top female entrepreneurs in America In October 2012.  A highly sought-after speaker and panelist, Michelle serves on the Board of the Pat Summitt Foundation for Alzheimer’s and speaks on behalf of Summitt.

She was known as “Spinderella” when she played basketball at the University of Tennessee for the legendary Coach Summitt, where the Lady Vols made three appearances in the NCAA Tournament and into two Final Four National Championship games (1995, 1996) during her time on Rocky Top. Michelle led Tennessee to the 1996 NCAA crown and secured the title of NCAA MVP.  She was later inducted into the 2012 Class of the Lady Vol Hall of Fame. Mrs. Michelle Brooke-Marciniak graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in psychology.  She was the National High School Player of the year while prepping at Allentown (Pa.) Central Catholic High School where she scored over 3,000 career points.

Michelle is the daughter of the late Walter F. “Whitey” Marciniak and Elizabeth “Betsy” Marciniak of Macungie, Pa.

Mrs. and Mrs. Brooke-Marciniak celebrated their nuptials with a reception hosted by acclaimed Executive Chef Maria Loi at her fabulous Loi Restaurant, New York City, attended by family and friends from around the world.

The festive evening included the cutting of the wedding cake created by Chef Loi with a ceremonial sword carried by Michelle’s grandfather, Rear Admiral Charles Abraham Park. The sword was used to cut the wedding cakes of Michelle’s mother and aunts spanning over the last 48 years. As the fathers of the couple were both deceased, the father-daughter dance honors, “Dance with My Father” by Luther Vandross, went to Michelle’s brother Steve Marciniak of Allentown, Pa., and Beth’s mentor and former EY Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Turley.  The brides’ first dance was to Adele’s “One and Only” where they were joined on the dance floor midway through the song by the other same-sex couples in attendance.

The newlyweds make their home in Bethlehem, Pa.

 

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