Boston marriage licences no longer require gender identification

Two women embrace each other, both wearing wedding dresses

The City of Boston has announced this week that it will no longer request citizens to register their sex or gender identity on their marriage licences in the hopes of offering more ‘dignified experiences for all.’

From now on, couples applying for a marriage certificate in the city will not be asked by city employees to disclose the details of their gender.

This update is the latest of the city’s new gender-aware guidelines to improve their recognition of queer residents and build a city that’s ‘truly inclusive’.

Announcing the move on Tuesday (29 August), Mayor Michelle Wu said: “Our fundamental charge in public service is ensuring that our services and opportunities reach everyone, and that starts with affirming and supporting constituents of all identities.

Kimberly Rhoten was presented with the city’s first new marriage licence. (Boston City TV)

Boston must continue to work to dismantle the historic inequities and injustices that persist. 

“This update to Boston marriage licenses is a huge step in building a City that is truly inclusive, and I’m excited to see how these critical changes for accessibility at City Hall serve Bostonians.”

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And that’s only the beginning for Boston. On the city’s website, additional plans to help affirm residents’ gender identities have been outlined.

“Right now, we ask residents about gender identity to deliver key services,” it reads.

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” But when we ask, we often aren’t using language that represents all gender identities and may not even need gender identity to deliver some of these services.”

At a press conference that day, Kimberly Rhoten, Boston’s director of policy and strategic initiatives, was presented with the first new marriage licence.

Rhoten, who is non-binary, told the press that they had ‘eagerly awaited’ this day.

“Unfortunately for people like me, the certificate’s outdated and narrow gender markers were a glaring reminder that our city still had a long way to go in acknowledging our existence,” they said.

“It’s a win for Boston.” (Boston City TV)

Rhoten went on to explain that this simple change will help to alleviate gender dysphoria for them, and other members of the LGBTQ+ community by sparing them from “having to pick from a list of limited, narrow, and delineated options.”

They continued: “And for those of us who change and grow, later identifying with a different gender than when we first got married, our marriage certificates no longer constrain us and can now reflect the love we hold without disrespecting who we’ve grown into and our new pronouns.”

When presenting Rhoten with their new marriage licence, Boston Registrar Paul Chong told them: “Your love makes the world a better place. It makes this city a better place.”

Accepting the licence, Rhoten claimed: “This is not just a win for the queer community. It’s a win for everyone who believes in the principles of fairness, equality, and equal access to our city’s services. It’s a win for Boston.”

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