All 9-year-old Mercedes wants for Christmas is to one day witness her two loving parents marry each other.
It's really a simple, selfless wish, considering most children her age desire electronics or toys this holiday season.
The request also seems reasonable — she lives with both her mothers, who provide ample love to Mercedes, her sister, Mandela, 8, and the four dogs and five cats inside their quaint Anita Drive home.
In fact, Mercedes has already envisioned the wedding between mothers Beca Dickerson and Lindsay Roth-Carson.
She planned the entire ceremony, from sketching vibrant floral arrangements to measuring the length of her mothers' veils.
She has even decided what to wear on the glorious day: An elegant, floor-length, white and pink dress she frequently throws on anytime someone discusses marriage in front of her.
"They should get married because they are beautiful and meant for each other," Mercedes said.
Like many romance novels, however — outlining the perils of star-crossed lovers — Dickerson and Roth-Carson experience real adversity from those who ridicule their love.
"I can't carry pictures of my family in the car," Dickerson said. "When my children become teenagers, I wonder, 'Wll she get beat up because they has two mothers?' We shouldn't have to worry."
Marriage is basically defined as a sacred union between two people who want to make their partnership exclusive and recognized for legal purposes.
By that definition, any union of two people — two men, two women, or a man and a women — should qualify for marriage.
But in 41 of 50 states, the government prohibits a union between same-sex couples.
"Getting married is a human right," Roth-Carson said. "It's not a straight right. It's not a gay right. We're not expecting people to bow down on the streets to us, but we want to be like everyone else and have the same rights as everyone else."
Read the full story in Saturday's Register.