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The Day I Got the Key to the City of Cambridge

Cambridge, Massachusetts was the first city in the United States to issue legal marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  They began doing so at 12:01am on Monday, May 17, 2004.

Fast forward six years and Cambridge is still immortalized for issuing those licenses in the middle of the night, and to this day, a banner still hangs in City Hall with a quote from the State Supreme Court ruling.  

Last year, I had a gay couple come in from Pennsylvania to get married. I picked them up at their hotel in the morning and brought them to Cambridge City Hall to apply for their license and get married.  The best part of the day (I think we'd all agree) was when we were in Cambridge City Hall, license in hand, with the Honorable Denise Simmons (Justice of the Peace and at that time, Mayor of the City of Cambridge). She officiated a beautiful, simple ceremony in her office and at the conclusion of the ceremony, presented my clients a felt bag. Inside the bag was a key to the City of Cambridge.

Imagine the reaction of these two guys! They were elated! They were two African-American men in their 40s and at the time, Ms. Simmons was the only openly-lesbian African-American mayor of a city in the US, handing them a key to her city. I didn't know it was coming - but what a pleasant surprise for all of us! 

I posted about this in my other blog last year, and another couple saw the story and asked for the same experience.  I couldn't promise it, of course, but we ended up back in Cambridge City Hall, in the office of Mayor Simmons, and she not only gave these brides a key to the City, but me as well!  I love it.  

This is a little piece of history and I really enjoy sharing this with my clients by bringing them there to get their own marriage license.


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