17 May 2004

A Break in the Clouds

The news today made me cry.

The front page of The Boston Globe carried a headline in 3-inch type: "Free to Marry". I had forgotten that today was the day when the Commonwealth would start issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. I started reading the below-the-fold article about the 10,000 person party which closed off Massachusetts Ave (fitting, huh?) between Harvard and Central Squares. People came together to party outside Cambridge City Hall, where the city's tuxedo-wearing school superintendent and director of public health welcomed couples in at 12:01 AM to get married.

What started in the afternoon as a sedate lawn party in front of City Hall, with running children, glow sticks, and panting dogs, had by midnight become a celebration so huge that it was hard to walk across the thin lawn without getting a face full of bubbles, knocking into someone with a sign reading “Mazel Tov,” or colliding with women singing “Going to the Chapel” accompanied by a brass band.

The cheer that went up at about 10 minutes past midnight, when it became clear that the first gay couple had filed their application for a marriage license, was so long and so loud that it nearly drowned out the final strains of Mendelssohn’s wedding march.

I never expected to have such a strong reaction to this story. But the whole night sounded so beautiful and I was so relieved that, despite all the terror in the world, I was reading a joyous news story with a 3-inch headline that I just cried.

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