Originally published on Advocate.com November 19 2003 12:00 AM ET
Linda Davies had to wait a moment for Gloria Bailey to compose herself. The news had just come over the radio that Massachusetts's highest court found the ban on gay marriages unconstitutional, and Bailey had burst into tears. "As soon as I could, I finally asked her to marry me," Davies said, beaming, with her arm wrapped around her partner of 32 years. "She couldn't answer until we could legally do it. And I'm happy to tell the world, she said yes."
Bailey and Davies were one of seven couples who sued the state in 2001 after they were denied marriage licenses. The Supreme Judicial Court ruled Tuesday that state cannot prevent gay couples from marrying under the state constitution and ordered the legislature to come up with a solution within 180 days that would allow same-sex couples to wed. The long-anticipated ruling sparked a flurry of proposals and plans for spring weddings--as soon as the 180 days are up.
Julie and Hillary Goodridge went to their daughter's school to deliver the news to 8-year-old Annie of their upcoming wedding. "She did a little cartwheel," Hillary said. "Then she had to explain it to her friends, and that got a little more confusing."
Heidi Norton and Gina Smith were in the car when they learned of the decision and broke into cheers and high-fives with their sons, Avery, 7, and Quinn, 3. Smith said she first proposed to Norton in 1990 and was thrilled they would now be able to end their engagement. Norton said they had been careful to tell the children that no matter which way the lawsuit went, they would always be a family and love one another. "We already had a family rule that if we won, we'd have a big wedding and cake--and if we lost, we'd still have cake," Norton said.
"I think we're going to have a really big cake," Smith said.