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Massachusetts celebrates 20 years of legalizing same-sex marriage

Celebrating 20 years of legalized same-sex marriage in Massachusetts
Celebrating 20 years of legalized same-sex marriage in Massachusetts 01:48

BOSTON - A celebration service was held in Boston Friday to recognize 20 years since the first same-sex marriages were legalized in Massachusetts.

First in the United States

The world was watching on May 17, 2004 when the first same-sex couples were able to get married.

"Time flies, we all look great," said Mike Horgan, one of the plaintiffs in the landmark court case, Goodridge v. Dept. of Health. "I mean, 20 years has not done anything."

The legal marriages, a first in the United States, came after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court determined the constitution requires Massachusetts to legally recognize same-sex marriages.

"We were hugging in the street and everything," said Ed Balmelli, one of the lawsuit's plaintiffs.

WBZ TV cameras were there to capture seven couples getting married on that day 20 years ago, including Balmelli and Horgan. Friday, they were at the service held at Arlington Church.

"Very proud that we could do that for everyone else," said Horgan. "It's the best thing that we've been able to do in our lives, to help make that change happen."

The work's not done for the LGBTQ+ community

Since that decision, more than 700,000 same-sex couples have gotten married in the U.S. But the work's not done.

"There are issues within the LGBTQ community around parental rights, the safety that are expressions of whether we mean it, when we mean freedom for all," said former Massachusetts governor and civil rights attorney Deval Patrick. "It's invigorating especially to hear the story they continue to tell."

A struggle, couples say, continues. But for now, they celebrate.

"We're having a party to celebrate 20 years of having Uncle Ed and Uncle Mike!" said Balmelli.

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