Openly lesbian Cambridge, Massachusetts
Mayor E. Denise Simmons will marry her longtime partner Mattie B.
Hayes Sunday, August 30. The couple will exchange vows in a
predominantly African-American church, a possible historic first.
“I believe this may be the very first
African-American church to hold a same gender wedding, and that's
something that just wouldn't have happened years ago,” Simmons said
in a press release.
“But times are changing, people are
becoming more accepting of their fellow citizens, and we are slowly
arriving at more of a 'live-and-let-live' kind of world,” she
The ceremony will take place at the
historic St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church near Harvard Square and
will be conducted by Rev. Leslie K. Sterling.
The announcement of an Episcopal Church
blessing a lesbian marriage comes quick on the heels of a historic
church vote that gives bishops the discretion to bless gay unions,
especially in states where gay marriage or civil unions are legal.
The state of Massachusetts was the
first to legalize gay marriage five years ago. Since then over
16,000 gay and lesbian couples have exchanged vows in the state.
In 2008, Simmons made history when she
became the nation's first openly lesbian African-American mayor.
She replaced Kenneth Reeves, America's first openly gay
“It's not an easy process, and there
have certainly been some detours along the way,” Simmons said about
the acceptance of gay men and lesbians in society, “but I think all
the kind words I've received about this ceremony suggest we're living
in a friendlier, more open society. Our society is definitely making