Mass. marks 10 years of gay marriage

Massachusetts officials and advocates celebrated 10 years Saturday since the state became the first to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Gov. Deval Patrick (D), former Rep. Barney Frank (D) and two gay-rights activists wrote a column in the Huffington Post looking back on May 17, 2004, when seven couples involved in the Goodridge v. Department of Health case, along with other same-sex couples throughout the state, were married.

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“Both those in favor and those opposed knew how significant this was,” they wrote. “Once these couples were legally married, it would change the terms of the debate forever.”

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court had ruled six months earlier that denying marriage licenses to gay couples violated the state’s constitutional guarantees of individual liberty and equality.

Now same-sex marriage is legal in 17 states and the District of Columbia, and the federal government recognizes such marriages.

“While the fight began a long time before the Massachusetts decision, Massachusetts made it all real,” Patrick, Frank and the advocates wrote. Frank married his husband Jim Ready in 2012.

Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) marked the anniversary on Instagram. “#Goodridge opened eyes and hearts that day but there is still much work to be done for #MarriageEquality across our country,” he wrote alongside a photo of the Boston Globe’s Saturday front page.

Charlie Baker, the presumptive Republican nominee in this year’s gubernatorial election, supports same-sex marriage. His brother, Alex, is gay, and he released a campaign video featuring his brother to celebrate the anniversary.

That contrasts with former Mitt Romney (R), who was governor at the time of the Goodridge decision. He opposed the ruling and tried to delay it many times.