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2004

First legal same-sex marriage performed in Massachusetts

Marcia Kadish, 56, and Tanya McCloskey, 52, of Malden, Massachusetts, marry at Cambridge City Hall in Massachusetts, becoming the first legally married same-sex partners in the United States. Over the course of the day, 77 other same-sex couples tied the knot across the state, and hundreds more applied for marriage licenses. The day was characterized by much celebration and only a few of the expected protests materialized.

On November 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Court found the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, ruling that the state could not deny the protections, benefits and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry. The decision cited the state constitution’s ban on the creation of second-class citizens. The court then gave the state 180 days in which to change the law. Efforts by some legislators to introduce an amendment to the state’s constitution banning same-sex marriage, but recognizing civil unions, were defeated.

Same-sex marriage became legal in all 50 states on June 26, 2015, after the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that states must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.

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