By Jim Young
Ava and Jaidon have two moms. Theresa Volpe is “mommy” and her partner Mercedes Santos is “mama”.
They have been together for over 20 years. They met each other while working for the same publishing company in Chicago in 1992. Theresa says that Mercedes is the person she was meant to spend her life with, she just happens to be another woman.
In 2002, they decided to find an anonymous donor so they could have their own biological children. First came Ava, now a quiet and insightful 8-year-old talented musician, and then her brother Jaidon, an energetic and playful four year old.
Theresa and Mercedes are part of a lawsuit to get same-sex marriage legalized in Illinois. There are nine U.S. states that recognize same-sex marriage, and Illinois currently has legislation waiting to be voted on in the House after the Illinois State Senate approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage on Valentine’s Day this year.
After Illinois legalized civil unions on June 1, 2011, Theresa and Mercedes were one of 30 couples who had their ceremony in Millennium Park, but felt it was just the first step to their ultimate goal – to be legally recognized as married.