Cambridge leads us, once again, into the light. Former Mayor Ken Reeves, a Black gay man, is succeeded in office by an “out” and fiery Black lesbian, Denise Simmons. Simmons has been a community activist for many years and played a key role in the same-sex marriage struggle in Massachusetts. On Nov. 18, 2003, the day the decision came down approving same-sex marriage, Simmons spoke at the Rally for Family and Equality at Old South Meeting House. On p.25 of Courting Equality, she is shown at the podium speaking with her little granddaughter, Tara Knight who is waving an American flag. There in the historic meeting house where patriots, including Samuel Adams, planned the Boston Tea Party, Simmons urged us on to protect the decision.
Simmons led the way to assure that her home town of Cambridge would be the first in Massachusetts to issue same-sex marriage license applications. On the evening of May 16, 2004, Cambridge opened the doors of City Hall and one minute after the stroke of midnight began taking marriage license applications. The city ushered in May 17th with enthusiasm and energy.
Ten thousand of us gathered inside and outside City Hall to rejoice in the latest extension of the meaning of liberty and justice for all. Simmons was at the center of it all.
Since May 17, 2004, Simmons has married many couples. She is sought after. We know that it is an honor to be married by someone who fought so hard for our victory.
A Native Hawaiian and an African American gay couple (who are also in Courting Equality on p. 157), told me about the care with which Denise helped them plan their wedding ceremony so that it would do justice to both of their cultural heritages, thus honoring their families as well at their ceremony.
Denise is a political figure with a deep commitment to her community and a keen attention to the people whom she represents literally and figuratively.
Liberty and justice are even more secure in Cambridge and the rest of the state with her in this leadership position!