Boston scraps all requirements to register sex and gender on marriage licences 

The city of Boston has taken the historic step of no longer requiring people to register their sex or gender on marriage licences, meaning people who wish to get married no longer have to disclose those details to city employees. 

The move marks the first change made by the city under its gender-aware guidelines, which seek to “support city staff who design and operate services, programmes and policies” in Boston and provide “more dignified experiences” for residents – particularly those whose “gender and sexual identities have historically not been recognised or supported by government agencies”. 

In a press release on the city website, mayor Michelle Wu said Boston’s “fundamental change [is to ensure its] services and opportunities reach everyone, [and that] starts with affirming and supporting constituents of all identities”. 

The Democrat added: “Boston must continue to work to dismantle the historic inequities and injustices that persist. This update to marriage licences 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.”

Gender-neutral marriage certificates ‘a win for everyone’

Kimberly Rhoten, who is non-binary and serves as Boston’s director of policy and strategic initiatives for the city’s Office of Returning Citizens, has been eagerly awaiting the move. 

At a press conference, they said: “Unfortunately for people like me, the certificate’s outdated and narrow gender markers were a glaring reminder that our city still had a long way to go in acknowledging our existence.” 

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The change 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”, Rhoten added. 

In response, the chief of equity and inclusion, Mariangely Solis Cervera, said: “Good government is responsive to an evolving world where everyone has access to city services in a way that feels equitable, safe and inclusive.

“Massachusetts was the first state to legally recognise marriage equality, but we know that the work of creating a more just world is ongoing. I am proud to be part of Boston’s trajectory as a continued leader in equity, inclusion and justice.”

The move is thanks to a joint effort led by the Department of Innovation and Technology, the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ+ Advancement and the City’s Registry Department. 

Boston residents who wish to have their marriage license updated without sex or gender identification can do so by contacting the city registry.

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