What a week that was, 10 years ago, when same-sex couples started to marry. I remember the klieg-lit, crazy, late-night party at Cambridge City Hall, staked out by news trucks, when at midnight on May 17, the city issued the first licenses. I remember the phalanx of international cameras at the Goodridges’ wedding, at the Unitarian Universalist headquarters on Beacon Hill. I remember which lesbian and gay couples beamed from the cover of the Herald, the Globe, and every local paper. The spring and summer of 2004 overflowed with weddings, as a rush of couples who had long been married in daily life were abruptly, joyfully, licensed to marry in law.
We know who got us there: Mary Bonauto of New England’s GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders), the Thurgood Marshall of the marriage equality movement. So did attorney Evan Wolfson, who had advised the first marriage lawsuit in Hawaii. A preliminary 1993 Hawaii Supreme Court win (saying the lawsuit should be re-heard at trial) triggered a national conversation about marriage equality — and a rash of referenda and legislation banning same-sex marriages in many states and the federal government. Ten years later, in 2003, Wolfson founded the national organization Freedom to Marry, and issued his “2020 Vision,” saying that we could have full marriage equality nationwide by 2020, “if we did the work.” It seemed absurd: We faced more than 30 laws against our loves, and hadn’t yet won a single state.