Same-Sex Marriage, Cambridge

Same-Sex Marriage Licenses in Cambridge

The photos below are taken on May 16th and 17th, 2004, at Cambridge, Massachusett's City Hall. This is the first place in the United States where a marriage license application was legally issued under state law to a homosexual couple. At 12:00 AM on the 17th, Marcia Hams, Susan Shepard, and Marcia's son Peter stood together on the first floor in a small room, with reporters crowded around, and the two women signed their paperwork and received the application (there is a three day waiting period before receiving the marriage license and thus becoming an official couple, though a judge can waive this for a $65 fee - there was no judge present tonight, nor a justice of the peace, so there were no ceremonies). They then proceeded out through the crowd. As I later learned from Marcia, the two were wed on Sunday, May 23, and had a ceremony in September 2004 at First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Harvard Square.

A view of the crowd at City Hall as of 10:30 PM, May 16th.

Protestors were kept to the south side of the street. You can make out GOD HATES on one sign, and thankfully nothing more than that.

Equipment set up on the various TV trucks to broadcast live into the Boston area.

Some of the entertainment at the event included one very musical singer leading the crowd in songs, a brass band playing at the western edge of the lawn (the only place there was room for them), and bubbles that periodically floated above the scene from various sources.

Looking across the City Hall lawn at one of many signs, this one support from a married couple.

Various supportive messages. The protestors had signs too, but none of their messages are printable on this page due to the language involved.

Flags abounded as well, in rainbow colors - even protestors' signs were multicolored.

There was no visible flamboyant clothing at the event, but a few people commemorated it in their own way.

The line to walk from streetside into City Hall; couples waited inside starting at 10:30 PM, and were cheered by supportive as they walked this path well past even midnight. In fact, anyone using the path, even just to move through the crowd, was cheered.

Up at the door, which is ready to divide people appropriately. Guests and well-wishers faced ever stricter security as the night progressed, so that by midnight only couples were being allowed into the building (otherwise there would not have been enough room to let more people in).

The security was not very tight, but a few heavily padded and armed policemen kept the scene stable. For the two hours I was there, no one attempted to create a disruption larger than attempting to enter City Hall.

Surveying the crowd one last time, from the top of the staircase at the front entrance.

Around the back, there was almost no crowd, and it was easy to peer through windows and see, in this case, two brides getting ceremonially married (once they received their number in line, they did not have to stand in it).

The scene in the room where the actual paperwork was filled out and signed, and where the first gay marriage license application was officially issued. Reporters and cameramen made it basically impossible to see Susan and Marcia, but Peter stood for most of the time.

Here come the brides... to be. The word was mixed as to whether they would be coming out the front or back entrance, but theatrically speaking, in order to provide an appropriate climax to the evening, they had to use the front door.

A closeup of Susan Shepard, and then the entire family, walking back through the crowd.

Naturally, TV crew dogged the couple on their way back to their car, so that it took a half hour to get basically across the street. I'm sure Marcia and Susan answered the same questions multiple times.

The family was more than happy to pose for the cameras, and Susan was proud to show off her new license application.

See more of Cambridge
Back to Massachusetts Non-Roads
Back to Non-Roads main page