The celebration of gay marriage began at city hall in Cambridge, Massachusetts on the evening of May 16, with cakes, choruses, and flowers galore.
At the stroke of midnight local residents Marcia Hams, 57, and Susan Shepherd, 52, began to fill out their application to become the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license in Massachusetts. They have been together for 27 years and plan a church wedding on Sunday.
Tanya McCloskey, 52, and Marcia Kadish, 56, became the first to get a waiver of the three-day waiting period and officially wed at 9:15 in the Cambridge city hall.
The first three licenses in Boston were reserved for plaintiffs in the Goodridge case that found the ban on same-sex marriage to be discriminatory. Thousands of other couples across the state would obtain their own marriage licenses that first day.
'Today is a day for congratulations, toasts, and well wishes, and cake. And an extras slice of justice,' wrote the Boston Globe in its lead editorial.
And by and large the state agreed, even opponents of gay marriage seemed to be gracious in the days leading up to the historic event. However, that did not mean that they had embraced gay marriage.
'We are watching the iron curtain against gay couples beginning to crumble,' said Arline Isaacson with the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus.
'The President needs a high school civics lesson. It's dishonest and irresponsible to attack a court for doing its job,' said Kevin Cathcart, executive director of Lambda Legal. He placed Bush in the company of segregationists who attacked the decision of Brown v Board of Education fifty years ago. Cathcart called it 'The same old smear tactic.'
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry tried to distance himself from the issue. His campaign took him to Kansas and it did not issue a press release on the historic event taking place in his home state. When pressed on the issue a few days earlier by a reporter from the Boston Globe, Kerry reiterated his belief that 'marriage is a status between a man and a woman.'
The far right Liberty Counsel had filed a flurry of legal motions and appeals in federal court to try and stop issuing of the licenses in the last preceding days. 'They said it was going to be chaos, it's going to be the end of the world,' said U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro in his decision. 'It hasn't been.' The appeals court and the U.S. Supreme Court quickly declined to intervene as well.
A dozen of the 1,200 justices of the peace in Massachusetts resigned their positions either because of religious opposition or concern over possible legal liability.