To thank the Obama Administration for embracing marriage equality, one binational same-sex couple invited the President and First Lady to their wedding -- and were pleasantly surprised by a celebratory note in response from the White House.
"Congratulations to you on your wedding day," read a note signed by Barack and Michelle Obama sent to Chelsea Roden and Lisa Hirschpek. "May this special time be blessed with love, laughter, and happiness. We wish you all the best as you embark on your journey together, and we hope your bond grows stronger with each passing year."
Roden, who is American, shared a photo of the card addressed to herself and her German fiancee on Instagram Friday, writing: "We sent the @whitehouse an invite and a thank you note for all the work they've done that helped make a #chelisawedding possible. We're sad Mr. President @barackobama and First Lady@michelleobama can't party with us this summer, but what a sweet surprise! (Maybe their schedule will free up next year!)"
Roden and Hirschpek have been dating since 2011, when they were 18, but told APLUS they never considered marriage because it wasn't an option. "Our relationship has fortunately paralleled with the journey of America coming to terms with new families like ours," Roden said.
The U.S. Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land in June 2015, but because the visa process is lengthy and complicated, many binational same-sex couples are still not able to live together on American soil.
"We're hopeful to have our careers in places where it's officially illegal to fire someone based on their orientation, and have kids without any of the adoption and healthcare obstacles that are being worked out now," Roden told A PLUS.
This isn't the first time the women have gathered warm wishes from historic marriage equality advocates. Earlier this year, Roden, who works as a permissions associate at Macmillan Learning, had the chance to meet Roberta Kaplan, the lawyer known for successfully arguing the Windsor case in 2013, leading to the end of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Kaplan signed the title page of her book, Then Comes Marriage, with a note wishing "best to you" to Roden and Hirschpek. Roden felt the gravity of the moment, writing on Instagram, "My words are all tied up because I'm enamored -but what an honor to meet Roberta and get to personally thank her for continually being a hero for LGBT and intersectional feminist rights."
The letter from the Obamas was just icing on their wedding cake. "It's a really sweet thing to have," Roden told A PLUS, explaining that she had shared it with Hirschpeck in Germany via Skype. "I said we should definitely frame it or put it in a scrapbook, and joked -- 'or our visa paperwork!'"