Boston is the first US city to issue non-sexist marriage certificates under the historic approval of new guidelines.
The changes were passed to provide “more dignified experiences” for all Bostonians, including those whose gender and sexual identity “have not historically been recognized or supported by government agencies.”
“Our fundamental role in public service is to ensure our services and opportunities reach everyone, and that starts with affirmation and support from voters of all identities,” Mayor Michelle Wu said in a statement.
He added: “Boston must continue to work to address the historical injustices and injustices that remain. This Boston marriage license update is an important step in building a truly inclusive city.”
The first gender-neutral marriage certificate was issued to Kimberly Rhoten, who identifies as non-binary and works as director of policy and strategic initiatives for the city’s Returned Citizens Office.
“I have eagerly awaited a transformative future in which my identity and the identity of my community will be recognized and respected by the institutions that govern us,” said Rhoten.
In a press conference after the issuance of his marriage license, Rhoten spoke about the significance of this change.
“For many, a marriage certificate is a symbol of love and commitment,” Rhoten said. “But unfortunately for people like me, the outdated and narrow gender markings on the certificates were a stark reminder that our city still has a long way to go before acknowledging our existence.” They were a subtle but powerful message that our love, our relationships, and our identities were somehow less valid and less recognized in the eyes of the law and the city of Boston.
In addition to issuing new marriage certificates, residents who wish to change their existing marriage certificates to a gender-neutral form can also do so.
“This isn’t just a victory for the queer community—iit’s a victory for everyone who believes in the principles of fairness, equality, and equal access to services in our city,” Rhoten said. “It’s a win for Boston.”