By Clay Wareham -
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick declared Tuesday, May 17 -- the seventh anniversary of the legalization of same-sex marriage in the Commonwealth -- "Marriage Equality Day." MassEquality rallied Tuesday to celebrate the anniversary.
Patrick’s proclamation declaring May 17 "Marriage Equality Day" reads:
Whereas Today we mark the 7th anniversary of marriage equality in the Commonwealth, a result of the decision inGoodridge v. Department of Public Health, the landmark Supreme Judicial Court case that stated that same-sex couples have the right to marry; and
Whereas That court decision affirmed a basic fundamental principle of democracy, that all citizens come before their government as equals and that government cannot discriminate against its citizens; and
Whereas The married couples have gained equality, and the security of knowing their families have the same rights and protections -- including health care benefits and hospital visitation rights -- as every other family; and
Whereas After seven years, many citizens consider same-sex unions in the Commonwealth to be a fundamental right conferred and guaranteed by this Commonwealth,
Now, Therefore, I, Deval L. Patrick, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, do hereby proclaim May 17, 2011, to be, Marriage Equality Day
And urge all the citizens of the Commonwealth to take cognizance of this event and participate fittingly in its observance.
Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston, this fourth day of April, in the year two thousand and eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America, the two hundred and thirty-fourth.
LGBT advocacy organization MassEquality held a celebration at Club Oberon in the American Repertory Theater (2 Arrow St., Cambridge) on the evening of May 17, celebrating the anniversary of marriage equality, and honoring D. Margaret Drury, City Clerk for Cambridge, with the organization’s inaugural Visionary Award.
"Seven years ago, Drury exemplified the true spirit of public service when she opened up the doors of Cambridge City Hall at 12:01 a.m. on May 17, 2004 so same-sex couples (some of whom had been waiting for decades) could apply for marriage licenses," MassEquality Executive Director Kara Suffredini wrote in an email to supporters. "Her unwavering support for marriage equality (at a time when then-Gov. Mitt Romney was ordering city and town clerks to post public notices about previously obscure state laws in order to discourage some same-sex couples from marrying) exemplifies the values MassEquality champions."