Gay marriage celebrates its 9th
anniversary in Massachusetts on Friday.
It was on May 17, 2004 that
celebrations erupted in town halls across Massachusetts as the first
gay and lesbian couples legally exchanged vows after the state
Supreme Court ruled a gay marriage ban unconstitutional. The scenes
were cheerful as hundreds of well wishers rushed to witness history
unfold before their eyes.
But there have been rocky moments along
the way. Years of hand wringing followed the court's decision as
foes fought to amend the state Constitution to re-ban such unions.
In 2007, lawmakers decided to abandon the effort as public support
for the institution grew.
The next year, lawmakers paved over an
obscure 1913 law that banned non-residents from marrying in the state
if the marriage was not recognized in their home state.
Residents in Belmont will celebrate the
anniversary at the annual Freedom to Marry Ice Cream Social.
The family event held at the First
Church in Belmont includes free ice cream and music and is believed
to be the state's only continuously-held event celebrating the start
of the United State's first marriage equality law.