Via On Top:
Openly lesbian Cambridge, Massachusetts Mayor E. Denise Simmons will marry her longtime partner Mattie B. Hayes Sunday, August 30. The couple will exchange vows in a predominantly African-American church, a possible historic first.
“I believe this may be the very first African-American church to hold a same gender wedding, and that’s something that just wouldn’t have happened years ago,” Simmons said in a press release.
“But times are changing, people are becoming more accepting of their fellow citizens, and we are slowly arriving at more of a ‘live-and-let-live’ kind of world,” she added.
The ceremony will take place at the historic St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church near Harvard Square and will be conducted by Rev. Leslie K. Sterling.
The announcement of an Episcopal Church blessing a lesbian marriage comes quick on the heels of a historic church vote that gives bishops the discretion to bless gay unions, especially in states where gay marriage or civil unions are legal.
The state of Massachusetts was the first to legalize gay marriage five years ago. Since then over 16,000 gay and lesbian couples have exchanged vows in the state.
In 2008, Simmons made history when she became the nation’s first openly lesbian African-American mayor. She replaced Kenneth Reeves, America’s first openly gay African-American mayor.
“It’s not an easy process, and there have certainly been some detours along the way,” Simmons said about the acceptance of gay men and lesbians in society, “but I think all the kind words I’ve received about this ceremony suggest we’re living in a friendlier, more open society. Our society is definitely making progress.”