Kentucky couple hopes marriage case will lift obstacles to raising children

Pam Yorksmith, left, and her spouse Nicole Yorksmith, along with their children, Grayden and Orion. The couple are Ohio plaintiffs in a same-sex marriage case to be argued before the Supreme Court on April 28.

Pam Yorksmith, left, and her spouse Nicole Yorksmith, along with their children, Grayden and Orion. The couple are Ohio plaintiffs in a same-sex marriage case to be argued before the Supreme Court on April 28. Gary Landers, AP

Pam Yorksmith, left, and her spouse Nicole Yorksmith, along with their children, Grayden and Orion. The couple are Ohio plaintiffs in a same-sex marriage case to be argued before the Supreme Court on April 28. Gary Landers, AP

Pam Yorksmith, left, and her spouse Nicole Yorksmith, along with their children, Grayden and Orion. The couple are Ohio plaintiffs in a same-sex marriage case to be argued before the Supreme Court on April 28.

This article is one in a series showcasing the families who are plaintiffs in the marriage equality cases that will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on April 28. Read more here.


CINCINNATI — Raising two young children in states that don’t recognize that their parents are married has confronted Nicole and Pam Yorksmith with a range of problems.

They live in Kentucky and work in neighboring Ohio, both states that ban same-sex marriage, and that complicates school enrollment, benefits, travel and tax matters and, most worrisome, medical emergencies.

“You run the gamut,” said Pam, a consultant in health care information technology.

While they consider themselves co-parents of the children that Nicole, 35, delivered after artificial insemination, a lot of other institutions don’t see them that way.

That was a problem when 9-month-old Orion came down with croup in the middle of the night.

“He had really labored breathing,” Pam recalled. Their pediatrician recommended taking him to the emergency room, and since 4-year-old Grayden was asleep, Nicole stayed home with him.

But Pam wasn’t listed on Orion’s birth certificate or records.

Article continues below

“An hour later, they had to call Nicole,” Pam said. “They have to call my wife to get permission to treat my child.”

Orion recovered, but it was a troubling reminder that as much as they want to live as a normal family since their 2008 marriage in California, they face obstacles.

“I’m a very traditional person,” said Nicole. “We knew very early on that we wanted to get married and have a family – let’s get a house, let’s get married, then let’s have kids. And that’s what we did.”

© 2015, Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

This Story Filed Under

Comments