On Monday morning, Tanya McClosky and Marcia Kadish — two lesbian women — were legally wed, making the United States one of only four countries in which homosexuals can be united in marriage.
Acting in accordance with a Massachusetts law passed last fall, Cambridge was home to the state's first legal same-sex marriage ceremony when McClosky, 52, and Kadish, 56, both of Cambridge, were married at 9:15 a.m.
Though thousands of same-sex couples have been granted marriage certificates in cities throughout the country, including San Francisco and New York, none of the unions were legal on a state level (see "President Bush Calls For Amendment Banning Same-Sex Marriage"). Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Monday (May 17), however, same-sex couples in Massachusetts were able to legally apply for a marriage license.
In November, a 4-3 ruling by the Supreme Judicial Court said that same-sex couples would be given the right to wed under the Massachusetts Constitution. Despite protests from opponents of the legislation, the U.S. Supreme Court decided on Friday not to intervene to prevent gay marriage, allowing the state of Massachusetts to open its doors to same-sex couples to apply for a marriage license.
Though same-sex couples across the country — and especially those who gathered outside Cambridge's city hall to celebrate the first marriage ceremony — are rejoicing at the news, the issue seems to remain open. Republican Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, in conjunction with the Massachusetts legislature, is seeking to overturn the law.
A move is afoot in the Massachusetts legislature to institute a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. In 2006, another vote and a state referendum are required, and if the measure passes, all gay marriages in Massachusetts would be voided, Romney told Bloomberg News.
Casting an equally ominous shadow over the celebration is Romney's determination to uphold a 1913 Massachusetts marriage statute which hinders non-Massachusetts residents from marrying in the state if the marriage would be illegal in the couple's home state.
The governor has made it clear that same-sex couples from out of state should not travel to Massachusetts to be married. Officials in the Massachusetts cities of Provincetown, Worcester and Somerville, however, reportedly plan to allow out-of-state couples to wed, provided the couples sign an affidavit stating they have no knowledge of any law which would prevent their marriage from being deemed legal in their home state.