On February 26, 2004, O`Donnell married Kelli Carpenter, a former Nickelodeon marketing executive, in San Francisco two weeks after SF`s Mayor Gavin Newsom authorized the granting of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Her decision to go to San Francisco to marry Carpenter was seen as a show of defiance against President George W. Bush over his support for the Federal Marriage Amendment.
"We were both inspired to come here after the sitting president made the vile and hateful comments he made... [O]ne thought ran through my mind on the plane out here - with liberty and justice for all.
The couple were married by San Francisco Treasurer Susan Leal, one of the city`s highest ranking lesbian officials and they were serenaded by the San Francisco Gay Men`s Chorus. On ABC`s "Good Morning America," O`Donnell said during the trial over Rosie magazine she had decided to marry Carpenter, in part because even though they acted as spouses they legally were no closer than friends.
"We applied for spousal privilege and were denied it by the state. As a result, everything that I said to Kelli, every letter that I wrote her, every e-mail, every correspondence and conversation was entered into the record ... I am now and will forever be a total proponent of gay marriage."
All the same-sex marriage licenses were later voided by the California Supreme Court.
The couple are parents to adopted children Parker Jaren (born May 25, 1995), Chelsea Belle (born September 20, 1997), and Blake Christopher (born December 5, 1999). Their fourth child, Vivienne Rose (who was conceived through artificial insemination), was born November 29, 2002 to Carpenter. In 2000 the family took in a foster child Mia (born in 1997), and announced intentions to adopt her. In 2001 the state of Florida removed Mia from their home, and Rosie has since worked extensively to bring an end to the Florida law prohibiting same-sex family adoption.
Rosie and her family currently reside in Nyack, New York, a suburb of New York City that is located in Rockland County and in Miami`s Star Island. O`Donnell`s brother Daniel, who is also gay, represents the Upper West Side of Manhattan as a member of the New York State Assembly. O`Donnell and fellow actress Bridget Moynahan are 3rd cousins.