Marriage Equality for Five Years

Pat Gozemba

It seems hard to believe that as of May 17, 2009, we’ve had marriage equality in Massachusetts for five years. Part of the reason for disbelief is that we had to fight off constitutional amendment efforts until June 14, 2007. And then we had to fight off, until July 2008, a racist 1913 law that kept same-sex couples from out of state from coming to Massachusetts to marry. Our legislators and our governor, Deval Patrick, deserve huge praise for protecting and expanding marriage equality.

So we have almost had a year of marriage equality that brings all of the rights of Massachusetts marriage law to all married Massachusetts residents.  But we need to keep remembering that the 1,138 federal rights that accrue to married couples are still not ours. The work of securing equality for all is not done.

But yesterday was a day to feel grateful.  MassEquality kicked off the celebrations heading up to May 17th with a press conference at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Boston.


Peter Hams, Susan Shepherd, and Marcia Hams cut the 5th Anniversary cake as Attorney General Martha Coakley and Lt. Governor Tim Murray and others looked on. Photo: Marilyn Humphries.

Shepherd and Hams applied for the first legal same-sex marriage license just after midnight on May 17, 2004 inCambridge City Hall. We tell their thrilling story in Courting Equality.

NECN Cable News captured much of the excitement of yesterday and the past five years. Check it out


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