It was an outdoor wedding, Memorial Day weekend. One bride wore a flowing gown in pale pink. The other -- Erika Scibelli's mother -- wore white linen pants, a long linen duster, and a smile like her daughter had never seen.
''She was radiating happiness," said Scibelli, 20, recalling the wedding in May 2004. ''It was almost eerie how happy she was."
Scibelli felt partly responsible. Years earlier, when she was 12, she had sensed that her divorced mother was not attracted to men. So when she saw Ellen DeGeneres on ''The Oprah Winfrey Show" talking about coming out, she dragged her mother, Heather, to the television.
''Mom, you know how good that must feel for her to get that off her chest?"' Scibelli told her. ''So, you got anything you want to get off your chest?"
In their household, the news fell easily. Scibelli's sister, then 4, first asked, ''Are you still my mom?" Her next question was, ''Have you got any gum?"
But Scibelli shied away from telling others, afraid of what other children would say. When it got too difficult to hide, she told friends. She launched a gay-straight alliance at South Hadley High. She answered a lot of questions. As a junior at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, she still does. Other students ask, ''What's it like?"
''It's like having a stepmom, but [she's] living with your mom. It's no big deal."
Still, the wedding felt big, different, and special. Scibelli, her sister, and Nancy Whitley's son walked their mothers down the aisle. At the reception, Scibelli gave a speech.
''If George Bush saw my mother and Nancy and how happy they were on that day, he would never, ever second-guess the gay marriage issue," she said she told the crowd. ''They would change everybody's mind."