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    Friday, July 19, 2024

    Healey, America's first lesbian governor, oversees raising of Pride flag at Statehouse

    Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey, left, joins with lawmakers and members of the LGBTQ community Wednesday, June 5, 2024, to mark Pride Month in front of the State House in Boston. Healey, one of America's first two openly lesbian elected governors, took the opportunity to oversee the raising of the Pride flag on the Statehouse lawn. The ceremony marked the 20th anniversary of the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, the first state to allow the unions. (AP Photo/Steve LeBlanc)

    Boston — Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey joined lawmakers and members of the LGBTQ community Wednesday to mark Pride Month.

    Healey, America’s first lesbian governor, oversaw the raising of the Pride flag on the Statehouse lawn. The ceremony also marked the 20th anniversary of the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, the first state to allow the unions.

    “No matter your age, your identity, your gender expression, here in Massachusetts you are welcome,” Healey said as she raised the flag. “We see you, we hear you, we love you, we stand with you, we will always fight for you.”

    The ceremony comes ahead of the Boston Pride Parade on Saturday, the largest in New England.

    Standing on the Statehouse steps, Healey said she was reminded of all who paved the way for the court decision in Massachusetts that legalized same-sex marriage. She also said that the right to marry and other victories for the LGBTQ community must be defended against ongoing threats.

    “We are facing a situation where too many are looking to take away important, hard-won rights and freedoms,” said Healey, the state's former attorney general. “These are freedoms. Equal treatment under the law is something that is in our United States Constitution.”

    Wednesday's flag raising and Saturday's parade comes amid growing hostility toward the LGBTQ+ community elsewhere in the country. Some states have sought to limit drag shows, restricted gender-affirming medical care and banned school library books for their LGBTQ+ content.

    Saturday's parade will be Boston’s second Pride parade since 2019. A hiatus began with COVID-19 but extended through 2022 because the organization that used to run the event, Boston Pride, dissolved in 2021 under criticism that it excluded racial minorities and transgender people.

    Boston Pride for the People, the new group formed to plan Boston’s parade, came together in 2022 to create a more inclusive, less corporate festival, according to planners.

    The parade is one of the oldest Pride events in the country. A second event for the over-21 crowd is planned at City Hall Plaza on Saturday with beer, wine, DJs, drag queens, drag kings, other royalty, pole dancers and more, organizers said.

    Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey joins with lawmakers and members of the LGBTQ community Wednesday, June 5, 2024, to mark Pride Month in front of the State House in Boston. Healey, one of America's first two openly lesbian elected governors, took the opportunity to oversee the raising of the Pride flag on the Statehouse lawn. The ceremony marked the 20th anniversary of the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, the first state to allow the unions. (AP Photo/Steve LeBlanc)

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