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

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.

 

—  Steve Ramos

See me Friday on ‘Good Day’ giving my Oscar predictions

ELLEN DEGENERESAs any good gay knows, Sunday night the Oscars are on ABC, and this year is about as gay as it gets: Ellen DeGeneres hosting, and Dallas Buyers Club a shoo-in for a category or two. So who will win?

Well, you don’t have to wait until Sunday to find you — just tune into Good Day on Ch. 4, KDFW Friday morning between 8:15 and 8:45 a.m. That’s when I’ll be making my triumphant return to the studio (I was the film critic for Good Day for a few years in the 1990s) to make my Oscar predictions.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Dale Hansen’s parting remarks

Dale Hansen’s 15 minutes is just about up, and he’s OK with that.

Last Monday, his pro-Michael Sam commentary went viral. By Friday, he was on the Ellen show (and in Dallas Voice!). And last night, he talked about what a ride it has been. And once again, he proves himself a great ally.

Watch the piece here.

 

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Dale Hansen on ‘Ellen’

It’ll air today, but here’s the interview.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dale Hansen’s defense of Michael Sam lands him on ‘Ellen,’ in Dallas Voice

dalehansenDale Hansen is about as old-school a sports journo as you’re likely to encounter, so when he delivered an opinion piece on Monday night about Michael Sam’s decision to come out, he shocked a lot of people — in the best possible way. The video went viral … and it will land him, today, on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show (airing at 3 p.m. locally).

Before you tune into Ellen, though, you can read his commentary, which appears in this week’s issue of Dallas Voice, or watch the video.

Thanks again, Dale. You’re what being an ally is all about.

And check out our cover story about Sam. It’s historic, guys.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Ellen DeGeneres, former Girl Scout, voices opinion on BSA

Ellen DeGeneres and her younger self as a Girl Scout.

Ellen DeGeneres and her younger self as a Girl Scout.

Lesbian comedian and talk show host Elle DeGeneres has chimed in on the Boy Scouts’ opting to delay a decision to allow gays until May.

A Girl Scout once herself who had a brother in Boy Scouts, DeGeneres said on her talk show that she believes in the organization and encourages people to worry about more important things on campouts than sexual orientation, such as bears and staying alive.

“I think what the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts are trying to teach is important,” she said. “They’re trying to teach kids to be leaders, and the more that we teach people how to accept people for who they are, the more self confident they’ll be and the better leaders they’ll become.”

Watch it below.

—  Anna Waugh

Same-sex marriage breaks color barrier

Gay folks measure victories incrementally: The first time the New York Times acknowledged “longtime companions” in their obits of gay men; the time Ellen came out on TV and the cover of Time; the first time — recently — that broadcasters casually referred to the partner of a gay celeb as his or her spouse, husband or wife.

Well, add to those media milestones Jet magazine.

The 51-year-old lifestyle magazine targeting the African-American community has long featured a weddings section called Jet Love, and in the Dec. 10 print edition, it features for the first time a gay couple, as reported by The Advocate. Among the photos of tuxedo-and-gown-clad duos shoving cake in each others’ faces and tossing bouquets is the happy (and handsome) couple of Ravi Perry and and Paris Prince, who were wed in Worcester, Mass.

Congratulations to the couple … to the gay community … and to Jet for taking an important step.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

One Million Moms again targets Ellen over JCP Christmas commercial

J.C. Penney spokeswoman Ellen DeGeneres’ new Christmas ad for the company has sparked more outrage from anti-gay group One Million Moms.

It’s been several months since anti-gay hate group One Million Moms voiced its disdain for lesbian comedian Ellen DeGeneres and her role as J.C. Penney spokeswoman.

But after a new TV commercial aired this week featuring DeGeneres persuading Santa’s elves to make more gifts for J.C. Penney’s button holiday giveaway, OMM couldn’t stay silent anymore.

The ad isn’t controversial. It’s quite humorous as DeGeneres makes a few short jokes while asking the elves for help.

OMM, a group started by the American Family Association, first targeted the retail chain in February, protesting DeGeneres’ selection as spokeswoman because she is gay. After that, it was the same-sex Mother’s Day and Father’s Day print ads — which featured local couples — that sparked another call for a protest.

“Since April, J.C. Penney’s has not aired Ellen DeGeneres in one of their commercials until now. A new JCP ad features Ellen and three elves. JCP has made their choice to offend a huge majority of their customers again. Christians must now vote with their wallets,” OMM reportedly wrote on its website.

The site is now down, though it may only be a temporary glitch. Or maybe hacker group Anonymous is claiming its next victim.

Watch the commercial below.

—  Anna Waugh

LGBT celebs tweet responses to Obama’s support of marriage equality

The big news of the day for LGBT Americans is President Obama’s vocal support of marriage equality which he stated in an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts. After the jump, read just a select few tweets from LGBT celebs who took to the Twitter-verse with their responses to Obama.

—  Rich Lopez

Lesbian couple featured in J.C. Penney catalog, reigniting hate group’s boycott of company

An ad in J.C. Penney's May 2012 catalog featuring Wendi with her mom, partner and daughters. The ad says Wendi's mom is an artist with a gallery in Granbury, south of Fort Worth.

The boycott of Plano-based J.C. Penney is back on by hate group One Million Moms after a lesbian couple was featured in the store’s May catalog. The ad features Wendi with her mom, partner and daughters with the words “freedom of expression” over the picture.

“You’ll often find Wendi, her partner, Maggie, and daughters elbow-deep in paint, clay or mosaics,” the ad reads. Further on it explains that Wendi’s mother is an artist with a gallery in Granbury, Texas, and reiterates that the picture is of “Wendi with her mom Carolyn, daughters Raven and Clover, and partner Maggie.”

OMM ended the J.C. Penney boycott in March after the company came out in defense of selecting lesbian comedian Ellen DeGeneres as its spokeswoman. While “so many issues” OMM is working on took precedence before, the group states on its website that it has “no choice but to move on earlier in the year but have decided to revisit this issue and speak out again.”

Apparently store managers who received complaints from OMM supporters or those who disagreed with DeGeneres representing the company were “brushed off,” according to OMM.

“Last time OMM contacted JC Penney store managers, we were brushed off,” OMM states on its website. “Some even experienced in person the store manager saying ‘Thank you’ and walking off while their customer and our concerned members were in mid-sentence. OMM has been told that JCP corporate office told store managers to say ‘Thank you’ and then walk away. If they want our business, then we will not be ignored!”

OMM is again asking store managers be approached so they will take the complaints to corporate. The group also wants emails sent to jcpcorpcomm@jcpenney.com, stating that J.C. Penney blocks OMM’s prewritten letters from its server.

Maybe because the company has addressed concerns and no longer wants its employees bothered. Just a thought.

After the jump, read the full concerns of OMM regarding the ad.

—  Anna Waugh