Jeannie Simms Exhibits Portraits of First Same-Sex Couples Married in Massachusetts

The project will be on view at Gallery 263, just blocks away from Cambridge City Hall, where the couples made history on May 17, 2004.
jeannie simms same sex marriage portraits

“Linda and Gloria, Cape Cod” / Photo by Jeannie Simms

At 12:01 a.m. on Monday, May 17, 2004, Cambridge made history.

Following the landmark decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, Massachusetts became the first state in the U.S. to issue same-sex marriage licenses, with its cities and towns set to begin accepting applications from couples on the morning of May 17.

But Cambridge plowed ahead, opening the doors to its City Hall just after midnight and waiving the three-day waiting period between applying for and receiving a license.

Linda Davies and Gloria Bailey—now both Bailey-Davies—were one of the couples married that day, among the first in Cambridge, in Massachusetts, and in the U.S.

Earlier this year—shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage across the nation—local photographer Jeannie Simms tracked down the couple and asked them to pose for a portrait, which could feature anyone and take place in a meaningful location of their choosing. Linda and Gloria chose Cape Cod and each other.

Simms, who’s based in Cambridge and is on faculty at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, also tracked down other couples—those married in Cambridge on May 17, 2004, plaintiffs of the Goodridge case, and those married in the years following the landmark decision.

The group of portraits makes up “Same-Sex Marriage Portrait Project/Future Archive: Where Are They Now?” and the exhibition will be on view at Gallery 263, a short distance from Cambridge City Hall, starting on Thursday, December 3. A reception will take place on Friday, December 4, and on Friday, December 18, Simms will host a conversation with some of the subjects from her photographs.

jeannie simms same sex marriage portraits

‘Arnie, Susan and Elijah, Jamaica Plain’ / Photo by Jeannie Simms

The exhibition will be on view through December 19 at Gallery 263, 263 Pearl St., Cambridge, gallery263.com.


Olga Khvan Olga Khvan, Assistant Digital Editor at Boston Magazine olga.v.khvan@gmail.com


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