canada africa partner reservation Massachusetts celebrates 20 years of marriage equality – NBC Boston

Massachusetts celebrates 20 years of marriage equality – NBC Boston

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It’s been twenty years since Massachusetts became a beacon of hope for the LGBTQ+ community across the country.

Cities across the Commonwealth celebrated the groundbreaking moment that changed how same-sex couples are viewed under the law.

“We are here in this place, Cambridge City Hall, holding fast to a vision that within minutes will fulfill a promise,” said the Rev. Irene Monroe as she read the same invocation she shared on May 17, 2004; the day gay marriage was allowed in the Bay State.

“There was a lot of nervousness and build-up,” Monroe said of the monumental event.

Since that day, the pastor has married more than 250 same-sex couples, she said. But not before years of struggle.

“We build on ‘Board of Education.’ We’re building on ‘Mildred Loving’ and (now) here we are,” she said.

For her, the struggle began when it became clear that she was not equal before the law.

“Nothing gets cemented in your mind when you realize, ‘Oh, I’m gay too!’ she said. “Then you realize, ‘Oh! I don’t have the same rights as heterosexual couples.’”

Then in 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal nationwide.

Despite the progress, Monroe said the fight must continue.

“If you can carry over ‘Roe v. Wade,’ which is, you know, oh my gosh, half a century old, then this is a baby civil right that only happened in 2015,” Monroe said.

Monroe wants to ensure that the baton is passed on to generations after her.

“This is my first term,” said state Rep. Samantha Montaño, D-Suffolk. “I was able to run as an open, open queer two years ago now, and it’s all possible because of the work that happened 20 years ago today.”

Montaño joined dozens of marriage equality advocates at Arlington Church in Boston on Friday to celebrate two decades of protecting the right to marry.

It was a cherished privilege for Robyn Ochs, who became the first in Brookline to marry another woman.

“It was amazing to see my family evolve and not only accept, but celebrate our relationship,” Ochs said.

For the Reverend, there is no turning back as long as progress is not taken for granted.

“It’s in my bones that you move forward, and not just for your own rights, but for the rights of everyone,” she said.