May 17, 2004 is one of those dates that civil rights activists will remember 100 years from now: the day legal same-sex marriage licenses became available in Massachusetts and for the first time anywhere in the U.S.
So it is appropriate that we mark the 10th anniversary as a start.
That achievement came because three JP couples—including the lead plaintiffs—and other Massachusetts couples successfully sued the state for marriage equality.
The press conference announcing their legal victory was one of the most purely joyous and celebratory events this paper has had the pleasure of covering. It was not just a victory of love over irrational fear. It wasn’t even just about marriage. It was a broad debunking of myths underpinning discrimination by sexual orientation and gender, and everyone ultimately benefitted from that.
The anniversary exhibits and forum presented by the Boston Center for Adult Education, reported in this issue, are a good way to commemorate this historic achievement.
Looking for more ways to support LGBTQ rights today is perhaps even better. Massachusetts—and JP activists in particular—remain on the cutting edge of these civil rights issues, but many other states continue to ban same-sex marriage and could use local support and wisdom. And Boston still has its challenges, especially as it becomes an ever more wildly expensive city with resultant impacts on such groups as LGBTQ youths (with disproportionately high rates of homelessness), seniors and people of color.
We wish those history-making couples who are still together a happy anniversary, and we thank all of those involved for making life that much fairer and kinder for generations to come.