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Melanie Rachel Marcus is a fictional character from Showtime's Queer as Folk television series.
Melanie, or commonly referred to as "Mel", is one of the main characters and the domestic partner of Lindsay Peterson. Melanie is also the natural mother of JR, a daughter by way of artificial insemination from mutual friend Michael Novotny, and the adoptive mother of Gus, Lindsay's natural son by way of artificial insemination from Lindsay's longtime friend Brian Kinney.
Melanie is an attorney with a successful law firm, and from her numerous references to "the other partners" she is taken to be a partner as well. She was raised Jewish and insists that Jewish traditions be observed in her family life, but does not seem to have an active spiritual life and may consider herself Jewish in a strictly cultural sense. At the beginning of the series, she and Lindsey have been together for five years. Throughout the relationship Brian Kinney has been a source of stress and discord for the couple, but Melanie allows him to remain an active presence in their lives because of his longtime friendship with Lindsay. Melanie's negative feelings about Brian are only exacerbated as he repeatedly injects himself into decisions about Gus' upbringing and reneges on his promise to sign his parental rights over to Melanie.
During Seasons 1 and 2, Melanie permits Lindsay take the year following Gus' birth on leave. The strain of being the family's sole breadwinner causes her to feel some resentment towards Lindsay. During this period of instability in the relationship, Melanie has a one-night stand with a woman she meets at a friend's baby shower. After disclosing the affair to Lindsay, she moves in with her cousin Rita for several months. The couple reconciles when, on the condition that they get back together and be loving parents to his son, Brian agrees to sign his parental rights over to Melanie.
In the Season 2 season premiere, Lindsay proposes marriage. Knowing that the union will not be legal and insisting that they do not need a piece of paper to validate their relationship, Melanie initially declines. However, she later relents and the two are married in a surprise ceremony thrown together by friends and family.
Melanie is also close friends with Ted Schmidt, an accountant that manages Lindsay and Melanie's financial portfolio. This relationship is solid until the revelation that Ted stole money from Gus' college fund. Eventually Ted admits his wrongdoings and is grudgingly forgiven by Melanie and Lindsay.
In Season 3, Melanie admits that she is unable to have children due to her endometriosis. After having an operation to reverse her condition, she asks Michael to be the donor father. Michael is hurt when Melanie, remembering her struggles with Brian, creates a contract absolving Michael of his parental rights. Melanie eventually relents and lets Michael share parental rights.
While Melanie is pregnant with Jenny Rebecca, she discovers that Lindsay has had an affair with a male artist, Sam Auerbach, whose work is being featured at her gallery. Melanie is furious, especially since Lindsay cheated with a man, and terminates their relationship.
In the final season, after a bomb explosion targeting a gay and lesbian convention takes the life of a fellow lesbian friend, Lindsay and Melanie decide to reconcile for good. The couple's last appearance on the show reveals that they have decided to move to Toronto, Canada to avoid further government and personal persecution for being a homosexual couple.