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News :: GLBT/Queer
Gay Marriage in Massachusetts!
17 May 2004
may17gay1.jpg
Gay couples are getting married! On May 17th, 2004, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts became the first State of the Union to officially issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Victory celebrations have been held across the state, and people lined up at their town and city offices hours in advance to request their marriage application.<br><br> Following a series of events that began on <a href="<a href=”http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/18301”>">November 18th 2003</a>, the State of Massachusetts has been a hot spot for Gay Rights activism during the last few months. The <a href="http://www.socialaw.com/sjcslip/sjcNov03c.html">Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health</a> case jump-started the issue when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court found that the equal protection provisions of the Massachusetts State Constitution required that same-sex couples be allowed to wed. A <a href=” http://boston.indymedia.org/feature/display/19654/index.php”>Constitutional Convention</a> was called for early February, and State Representatives debated the difference between a Gay Marriage and a Vermont-style Civil Union. The Constitutional Convention <a href="http://boston.indymedia.org/feature/display/19654/index.php">reconvened in early March</a> to debate the issue further. The <a href="http://boston.indymedia.org/feature/display/20631/index.php">decision</a> voted on by the State’s Representatives in late March defined marriage as a union between man and woman, while creating a separate category of distinction: Civil Unions.
<br> This decision was the first legislative step to <I>overturn</I> this groundbreaking decision in support of basic human rights. The Constitutional Convention must vote again next year to support the decision it made this year, after which the vote will be voted by the people of Massachusetts in a general election. Meanwhile, the original Supreme Court decision’s requirement that marriage licenses be issued to gays and lesbians beginning on May 17th has been upheld. New Marriage Applications have been created to accomidate the "sex" of those who wish to marry, and Town and City Clerks have been trained on the use of these new forms. Most Town and City offices scheduled to open Monday morning, business as usual, but some took special exception to this historic moment. <br><br> On the evening of the 16th, the grounds of Cambridge City Hall was festive and upbeat. Gay Rights advocates, friends and families of Gays and Lesbians, and committed couples waiting to tie the knot stood in line, cheered and generally celebrated the opportunity to declare their love and receive legal recognition of their unions. Police and anti-gay protesters were present, but their biased minority perspective was well-overcompensated for by the energy of the crowd. The typical anti-gay slogans, like “Hey hey, ho, ho, gay rights got to go” were drowned out by songs such as “I’m going to the chapel, gonna get married” and protester signs with messages like: “The sky hasn’t fallen”. <br><br> The City of Cambridge opened the Clerk’s office doors at 12am, and immediately began to issue marriage licenses. At midnight, the crowd was estimated at 5,000-10,000 people. One attendee described the number of people as: <br><br><I>“Definitely an insane amount of people. You have city hall, and city hall’s whole lawn, and that was covered. Then you have Mass Ave and it was packed full of people, and then people further down at the intersections. There was a constant flow of people in and out. It was pretty intense.”</i> <br><br> At Boston’s Government Center this morning, the Marriage waiting line was out the door and around the corner of the building. According to an official within the building, Boston’s Clerk’s office was only issued 80 new marriage applications for this historic occasion. Requests had been placed in Boston and at other City and Town Halls for more applications in anticipation of the large number of applicants. The media presence was outrageous, and couples stood in line clutching roses, holding hands or guardedly speaking with media representatives. <br><br> One man described the previous evening at Government Center, and interaction between an anti-gay group and the happy almost-married and their supporters: <br><br> <I>“It was a party until after 1(pm). At one point, the protesters were chanting, and the gay advocates started singing “We are the Champions” until you couldn’t hear the protesters anymore.”</i><br><br> There is a standard 3-day wait-period for all marriage applications that can be waived by a court for immediate legal sanctimony. Some couples have chosen to have the court intervene on their behalf to legally wed today, while most couples are enjoying the 3-day wait period, equally, just like everyone else. <br><br> For more information on gay marriage in Massachusetts please review these previous IMC articles: <br><br> Massachusetts Constitutional Convention Moves Forward Amendment to Ban Gay Marriage but Create Civil Unions, April 1, 2004 <br>http://boston.indymedia.org/feature/display/20631/index.php <br> <br> Civil Unions Today, Gay Marriage Tomorrow?, March 12, 2004 <br>http://boston.indymedia.org/feature/display/20168/index.php<br> <br> <br> The Massachusetts Constitution Has Not Been Amended to Ban Gay Marriage--For Now, February 13, 2004 <br> http://boston.indymedia.org/feature/display/19654/index.php <br> <br> Separate But Equal isn’t Equal, MA Constitutional Amendment?, February 9, 2004<br> http://boston.indymedia.org/feature/display/19615/index.php <br> <br> Triumph for Same-Sex Marriage in Massachusetts!, November 18, 2003<br> http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/18301 <br> <br>
See also:
http://www.massequality.org
http://www.freedomtomarry.org

This work licensed under a
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Comments

Re: Gay Marriage in Massachusetts!
17 May 2004
I just want to congratulate all of Mass's ground breaking newlyweds! Now, at least one pair of them has to move out of state so we can break the kneecaps of the DOMA!!
Re: Gay Marriage in Massachusetts!
18 May 2004
Congratulations, Massachusetts!!! I hope all the states follow in your footsteps.
From Arkansas To Massachusetts With Love!
24 May 2004
Modified: 10:50:07 PM
About three dozen people gathered in front of the Washington County Courthouse in Fayetteville Arkansas on Monday to demonstrate their support of the same sex marriages now underway in Massachusetts. While that may not seem like much, Fayetteville, a small Southern college town, has a tiny handful of progressives right in the middle of the most Republican, conservative Christian corner of the state. So it was a big deal to us.

One of the most heartening parts of the event was the overwhelmingly positive response from passing motorists along the busiest street in town. Personally, I saw one person give us the finger, while dozens after dozens of folks honked, waved, and cheered their support as they drove by.

The best part, to this old activist, was that the whole thing was organized and put together by the young'uns, twenty-somethings new on the local activist scene. It touched my heart, to see their passion and concern.

One of the signs being carried by a young lesbian at the event simply read " From Arkansas to Massachusetts With Love" which is why I wanted to take the time to pass this all on to you. Even in the buckle of the Bible Belt you have love and support, and we celebrate with you.
Re: Gay Marriage in Massachusetts!
27 May 2004
Finally...Equality for all! Somewhat...Women still get the shaft when it comes to equal pay. Time to get equal pay right!
Re: Gay Marriage in Massachusetts!
14 Oct 2004
Any news on a Gay Divorce yet?