Friday, August 21, 2009

The first black lesbian mayor in the U. S. has announced that she's marrying her longtime partner!

“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” - Mayor Simmons

Wow - what a trailblazer! Congrats!

The following is a press release from Mayor Denise Simmons' office:

On 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 30 at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Cambridge, Mayor E. Denise Simmons shall be marrying her longtime partner, Ms. Mattie B. Hayes, in a celebration of love, acceptance, and togetherness. The couple shares a passionate interest in advocacy and support work for children and families, and their wedding ceremony shall touch upon those themes. This is certainly a joyous milestone for the Cambridge Mayor and her family, which is to be expected of a loving union; however, this same-sex marriage is also important on a broader scale, as it seems indicative of a more accepting, more tolerant society.

The wedding will take place at the historic St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, which has predominantly been serving Cambridge’s African-American community for over 100 years, and is presided over by the Rev. Leslie K. Sterling. The wedding ceremony shall be conducted by Rev. Irene Monroe, who has cultivated a reputation as a progressive and nurturing spiritual leader, and who has conducted extensive outreach efforts to the GLBT community. The Reverend writes religion columns for In Newsweekly (the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender newspaper in New England), for The Advocate, and for The Witness, a progressive Episcopalian journal. Mayor Simmons is honored to have this progressive spiritual leader preside over her wedding, and to have the ceremony take place in such a historic and inclusive house of worship.

Mayor Simmons is also cognizant of the deeper societal implications of this marriage. As the nation’s first African-American, openly-lesbian mayor, she has already blazed a trail for anyone who seeks to assume a leadership role within their community. Moreover, the Mayor presides over a diverse city that consists of people from every racial, religious, economic, and cultural background, and she continues to work to bridge the divides between all her constituents. The Mayor appreciates that her city has made great progress in bringing people together, even within her lifetime.

“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,” says Mayor Simmons. “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.” The Mayor adds, “It’s not an easy process, and there have certainly been some detours along the way, 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.” source