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Mayor Walsh and City of Boston sign on to US Supreme Court brief in support of same-sex marriage

Today, Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the City of Boston signed on to the Freedom to Marry Brief, in support of marriage equality for same-sex couples. In 2014 the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that gay men and lesbians, unlike all other individuals, have no fundamental right to marry (DeBoer v. Snyder, 772 F. 3d 388 (6th Cir. 2014). This session the U.S. Supreme Court is taking up a case that would resolve this question and if the Freedom to Marry opinion prevails, end same-sex couples’ exclusion from marriage nationwide. The Freedom to Marry Brief is supported by 226 Mayors and 40 cities across the country and the US Conference of Mayors, the International Association of Municipal Lawyers Association, and the National League of Cities.

“Boston is an inclusive city with residents who believe in and respect marriage equality,” said Mayor Walsh. “We are a city that rallied together so that Massachusetts could become the first state in the nation to allow same sex couples to get married, and our support is woven into the fabric of Boston’s identity. Same sex families live among us, and are just like every family - invested in their communities and the future of Boston.”

Mayor Walsh has a long history of strong support for the LGBTQ community. In his current role, he has actively participated in events related to Boston Pride, served as the keynote speaker for The Men's Event and The Women's Event to benefit Fenway Health, and worked with City Council and the City's Public Employee Committee to guarantee transgender municipal employees and their dependents access to gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy, and mental health services. Some of Mayor Walsh’s key appointments to his Cabinet and administration are gay, including the City’s first ever Chief of Civic Engagement.

Mayor Walsh’s leadership on marriage equality emerged early in his career as State Representative when he helped lead the effort with MassEquality and the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus to stop the anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment. He is credited by state and national LGBTQ rights organizations as one of the key influencers in making marriage equality a reality in Massachusetts.

Mayor Walsh strongly believes that LGBTQ equality is a human rights issue. As a state legislator he:

  • Co-sponsored An Act Providing Housing and Support Services for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth, a bill aimed at providing housing and support services to unaccompanied homeless youth
  • Co-sponsored, A Resolve Establishing a Commission on LGBT Aging, a special commission to study the health, housing, financial, psycho-social and long-term care needs of senior LGBTQ residents and their caregivers
  • Co-sponsored, The LGBT Awareness Training For Aging Services Providers, a bill focused on preventing and eliminating discrimination based on sexual identity and gender expression among LGBTQ seniors and caregivers
  • Supported the Transgender Equal Access Bill that would add gender identity and expression to the Commonwealth’s public accommodations anti-discrimination statute.
  • Supported FY 2014 budget amendments for programs that helped LGBT domestic violence victims, youth, seniors and HIV/AIDS patients.
  • Co-sponsored An Act Relative to Bullying, a bill requiring schools to enact anti-bullying plans and collect and report bullying statistics.
  • Supported the Transgender Civil Rights Bill that became law in 2012 and added gender identity and expression to Commonwealth’s anti-discrimination statutes for housing, credit, education, and employment.
  • Supported a budget amendment that helped save the LGBT Youth Commission from being disbanded by then Governor Romney.
  • Supported a budget amendment that funded services for LGBT domestic violence, HIV/AIDS programs, and Gay-Straight Alliances in schools.
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