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.