Mass. Celebrates 10 Years of Same-sex Marriage

(NECN: Alison King, Boston) - Maureen Brodoff can't believe 10 years have gone by since she and her spouse Ellen Wade got married. The two were one of the first same-sex couples in the United States to do so.
Brodoff and Wade were one of the seven couples who sued Massachusetts for the right to marry.  

"I do have to say that I feel a great deal of pride in having been a part of that, even a small part," Brodoff said.

Brodoff said life with their then 15-year-old daughter will soon return to normal, but they will remember the battle that played out at the Statehouse in the months leading up to May 2004, when gay marriage became legal in the state.  

Arline Isaacson,  then the Executive Director of the Mass. Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, was on the front-lines of the action.  

"As soon as the Goodridge decision came down there was a total panic in the legislature. The air was tense, you could almost cut the air with a knife because there was so much tension and anxiety. More people poured into the building on both sides of the issue during that Constitutional convention, so many so that they actually closed the building down for the first time in history," said Isaacson.

Isaacson said many lawmakers were panicked over what they should do, tortured between voting their conscience or possibly losing their seat, unable to go into a church, synagogue or grocery store without being bombarded by constituents.

"Legislators were in tears. It was the most extraordinary circumstance anyone had ever seen in the building and nothing comes close to it. Not abortion, not taxes, not the death penalty. Nothing comes close," said Isaacson.

Years later, Brodoff said she knew how dramatically the climate had changed when, while renting a car on a trip to Texas, she asked if her spouse could also drive the car.

"And she looked down and looked at Ellen and she gave me this kind of look saying what are you talking about, and I said we're from Massachusetts. And she broke into this huge grin and she said that's great! Okay. Yes you can, you're authorized to drive," said Brodoff.

Same-sex marriage is now legal in 17 states, but there is still significant opposition.

Andrew Beckwith of the Mass. Family Institute said his organization's stance on gay marriage hasn't changed at all. And he points out that the battle to push back on gay marriage is very much alive in the courts.

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