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!
Â Â Â Cynthia Laird of the Bay Area Reporter makes the connection between our struggle in Massachusetts for marriage equality and the continuing struggle in California. She sees Courting Equality as a way forÂ gay marriage advocates to share strategies that worked and to take heart thatÂ full equality is not just a hope. Laird is particularly impressed with the photographic work of Marilyn Humphries. Read on . . .Â
Bay Area Reporter
by Cynthia Laird
With the marriage equality battle heating up in California, same-sex couples and others might want to check out Courting Equality , a coffee-table book that recounts the battle for gay marriage in Massachusetts.
Released in May to coincide with the three-year anniversary of legal marriage in Massachusetts, Courting Equality (Beacon Press, $34.95) contains more than 100 photos by photographer Marilyn Humphries, with a detailed history by co-authors and spouses Patricia A. Gozemba and Karen Kahn.
In a telephone interview last week, Gozemba, 66, said that she and Kahn, 51, were familiar with Humphries’s photography work well before embarking on the collaboration. But it was a former San Francisco Chronicle reporter, Evelyn White, who suggested that they do a book, she said.
“The photos were at the heart of the whole thing,” Gozemba said. “Marilyn’s been in Boston for the last 27 years, documenting our community.” More
You can see Marilyn’s photographs from the June 14 Constituttional Convention by going to these links:
Â http://www.mhimages.net/070614cc1/index.htmÂ http://www.mhimages.net/070614cc2/index.htmÂ http://www.mhimages.net/070614cc3/index.htm
These images show the power of democracy. With thousands of LGBT people and their allies watching, the Massachusetts legislature voted 151-45 to kill a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
Pat Gozemba (left) of Salem was embraced by David Wilson, one of the original plaintiffs in the landmark same-sex marriage lawsuit. The pair celebrated after the vote outside the House chamber. (Boston Globe photo John Tlumacki)
June 14, 2007 will become a historic day in the annals of equality in this state and in this country. Gov. Deval Patrick said it right. “This is not just a great day for marriage equality–it’s a great day for equality.”
It was a thrill to celebrate with Dave Wilson and with the thousands of marriage equality supporters who came to the State House for this nerve-wracking but historic day.
All of us in the LGBT community and our alliesÂ who have spent countless hours and days working on this issue feel grateful to the 151 legislators (75% +1) who voted for equality. New profiles in courage emerged!
Check our blog later for more photos by Marilyn Humphries.