Photos: Honoring the 20th Anniversary of Same-Sex Marriage Equality in Massachusetts

Photos: Honoring the 20th Anniversary of Same-Sex Marriage Equality in Massachusetts

To mark the milestone, revisit photos of some of the joyous events that followed the landmark decision.

Staff Writer
A three-tiered wedding cake with pink flowers on a table. People around it prepare to cut it together.

Massachusetts was the first in the United States to legalize same-sex marriage. UU World looks back twenty years later.

© 2005 Marilyn Humphries


Twenty years ago, on May 17, 2004, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts granted its first wedding licenses to same-sex couples.

It became the first in the United States to recognize same-sex marriage. The landmark case Goodridge v. Massachusetts Department of Public Health successfully challenged Massachusetts laws restricting same-sex couples from marrying.

Unitarian Universalists participated in the push to extend legal protections and rights to same-sex couples. Half of the fourteen Goodridge plaintiffs were UUs, according to reporting at the time.

In honor of this marriage equality milestone, here are some photos that capture the joy and jubilance shared by same-sex couples who chose to legally wed in Massachusetts.

1. A Wedding Ceremony at Arlington Street Church in Boston

A same-sex couple marries in a chapel.
© 2004 Marilyn Humphries

Rev. Kim K. Crawford Harvie, senior minister of Arlington Street Church in Boston, performs a wedding on May 20, 2004. Many same-sex couples married at Arlington Street Church, a Unitarian Universalist congregation, that month.

2. Another Couple Weds at Arlington Street Church

A person puts a wedding ring on their same-sex partner during a wedding ceremony.
© 2004 Marilyn Humphries

Rabbi Howard Berman marries Michelle Johnson and Myrna Greenfield during a ceremony held at Arlington Street Church in Boston on May 20, 2004.

3. A Chapel Ceremony at the Unitarian Universalist Association's Headquarters on Beacon Hill

A same-sex couple faces each other before a UU minister during a marriage ceremony.
© 2004 Marilyn Humphries

Rev. William G. Sinkford, president of the UUA at the time, marries the Goodridges in a ceremony in the chapel of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s headquarters on Boston’s Beacon Hill on May 17, 2004, the first day Massachusetts began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. (The headquarters later moved to Boston's Farnsworth Street.)

4. A Gathering at the UUA Headquarters to Mark the Historic Moment

A seated audience faces speakers at the front of the room during an indoor event honoring marriage equality in Massachusetts in 2004.
© 2004 Marilyn Humphries

Hillary Goodridge and Julie Goodridge (at left), Sen. Dianne Wilkerson (speaking), and UUA President William G. Sinkford (at right) during a May 17, 2004, ceremony in the chapel of the UUA headquarters on Boston’s Beacon Hill.

5. Reconnecting at a Reception Hosted by the UUA a Year Later

Four people pose together and smile during an anniversary reception celebrating marriage equality in Massachusetts.
© 2005 Marilyn Humphries

Goodridge plaintiff couple Robert Compton and David Wilson pose with Rev. Kim K. Crawford Harvie and Unitarian Universalist Association President William G. Sinkford during a one-year anniversary reception hosted by the UUA for UU same-sex newlyweds and guests.

6. Rejoicing during the First Anniversary of Marriage Equality in Massachusetts

A group of people stand around a cake and celebrate as confetti falls.
© 2005 Marilyn Humphries

In celebration of the one-year anniversary of the Goodridge decision, the UUA hosts a gathering at its headquarters on May 17, 2005. The plaintiffs cut a cake amid confetti. From left: Gary Chalmers, Maureen Brodoff, Ellen Wade, Rob Compton, Dave Wilson, Gloria Bailey, Linda Davies, GLAAD lawyer Mary Bonauto, and Julie and Hillary Goodridge.