Nine years ago today Massachusetts became the first state in the United States to perform same sex marriage. At the time, the majority of the country made a pariah out of “liberal Massachusetts” saying our state was making a mockery of the institution of marriage.
Fast forward nine years later and Massachusetts continues to have one of the lowest divorce rates of any state in the US and the majority of Americans now support same sex marriage. Additionally, all six New England states now recognize and perform same sex marriage in addition to Washington, D.C. and five other states. Much work remains, but the progress is undeniable.
Happy Anniversary to all those couples who got married nine years ago.
Recently I wrote about Merchant’s Row at the historic Concord Colonial Inn, which is situated in Concord, MA quaint town center. Concord is approximately 30 minutes northwest of Boston by car and is also easily accessible by commuter rail. After spending a night at the Colonial Inn, I started to think about how this New England town makes for a romantic overnight or day trip.
Earlier this year I wrote about how more gay and lesbian couples are opting for different travel destinations. While most of my travels showcase larger cities and more traditional gay destinations, for those looking for an easier and more affordable get away, Concord, MA may appeal. Steeped in history, The Concord Colonial Inn will be celebrating its 300th Anniversary in just three years.
If an overnight isn’t feasible, try the Inn for lunch or dinner, although there are several other dining options in the town center too. In addition to food and shops, historic Walden Pond is just a short distance away and easy to get to by bicycle. I’m still a city kid at heart, and I’ll be obsessing about getting to Ptown once summer hits but Concord was more fun than I would’ve ever expected. If you are new to New England or curious to explore the area, consider heading up for a night or an afternoon. The town is very progressive and LGBT-friendly.
It is time to report about something positive rather than the horrors associated with the Boston Marathon so I am happy to share this story about Massachusetts.
While my home state doesn’t have internationally recognizable towns like Beverly Hills or addresses like Fifth Avenue, Massachusetts is an affluent state. Much of this wealth is derived from the state’s investment in industries like technology that pay wages far higher than the average income. So while some may be surprised to read that Massachusetts achieved the top spot (again) on an index ranking states by their technology and science capabilities compiled the Milken Institute I’m not.
The Milken Institute is a California-based think tank that evaluates R&D investment, risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure, and the skill of a local work force to draw up its rankings. Their calculations measure a state’s success at converting those assets into businesses and high-paying jobs. So while Silicon Valley in California deserves its role as top dog as America’s technology epicenter, the Massachusetts juggernaut continues to pay dividends that lift a rising tide for many in my state and I’m kind of proud of that.
Those investments didn’t happen by accident, and I hope Massachusetts continues to make those investments so we can maintain this leadership, because while we’ll never be Hollywood or Fifth Avenue, I like the fact that an opportunity for a better life and access to higher paying careers are more readily available here than just about anywhere else in the US.
Last week The Boston Herald reported medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts could open by the end of the year. Despite lobbying from those claiming marijuana is a “gateway drug”, last November 63% voters approved legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. The ballot initiative won in a jaw-dropping 349 out of 351 communities state-wide.
While this might be a divisive position, I would like decriminalization of marijuana and state regulation of this substance. I find far fewer issues associated with marijuana than I do with alcohol and think this would prove to be an excellent source of tax revenue. What do you think?
Take Your Hero To Dinner
A couple of years ago I shared a story about a stranger here in Boston helping a visitor who needed some extra cash in my post Practice Random Acts of Kindness. Earlier this month, another such heartwarming story took place here in Boston, but this time the story got noticed and has gone viral.
Long story short – Samantha Ford who is romantically linked to a soldier serving in Afghanistan has a bumper sticker on her car that reads, “Half my heart is in Afghanistan.” This past Monday when she came out of Dunkin Donuts she found this note and $40 under her windshield wiper blade. Her touching story has been making the rounds on Facebook and has been picked up by major news networks like the Huffington Post.
Much thanks to Tales of the Sissy blogger for bringing the story to my attention!
Since Massachusetts passed a tax credit to encourage more filming in the state, it seems like every month there is a movie being filmed somewhere in the city. However, I’m hard pressed to think of the last time a television show inconvenienced me with a filming. But we just received notice that March 13-15 and 19-20 filming will take place on Waltham Street for the television show, Hatfields & McCoys. I’m not familiar with the show, but a quick look at IMDB let me know that Patrick John Flueger is reason enough to be excited to see them filming down the street. I wonder if he is this handsome in person?
This is absolutely hilarious, but I’m not sure if you would even be able to understand some of the references if you have not grown up in this part of the country… Feel free to share with friends you know from Massachusetts.
Click on me to enlarge
An article in The Boston Globe yesterday mentioned that a particular excerpt from Massachusetts landmark decision in Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health continues to be a popular reading at same sex marriages all over the US.
After reading the article in the Boston Globe I can see why it has remained so popular with civil marriages for same sex partners. I’ve taken the text from the image above and added it below to make it easier for you to read.
“Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family… Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.”
- Chief Justice Marshall, November 2003
CannaMed, a California-based medical marijuana consultation center just opened their first location in Massachusetts in the western suburb of Framingham, MA. According to their blog they are now scheduling appointments for patients with debilitating medical conditions.
I’m sure I must have a debilitating medical condition.
Cannamed of Boston
945 Concord St.
Framingham Ma 01701
My good friend and fellow blogger over ate You think you know published this image of my home state last week and I have to admit it is quite true. If you are familiar with Massachusetts this image will give you a good laugh.
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) gave Massachusetts the highest ranking in the US. The high marks, which helped Massachusetts overtake California last year, was based largely on its continued commitment to energy efficiency under its Green Communities Act of 2008, which has spurred greater investments in energy efficiency programs by requiring utilities to save a percentage of energy every year through efficiency measures.
Is energy independence & efficiency important to you? Check out how your state ranks according to the 2011 ACEEE.
The Governor of Massachusetts (my Governor) was not just grand standing when he said this at the Democratic National Convention last month. Deval Patrick has been a stalwart supporter of LGBT causes. He was the first sitting Governor that I know of to walk in a Pride Parade; perhaps that had something to do with his lesbian daughter or maybe it just has to do with the fact that he gets it.
This past Friday four of us drove from Boston to Albany, NY to spend the weekend with a couple who purchased and remodeled a beautiful home (I’ll talk more of that in a future post). While driving to Albany we nearly missed a head on collision with a car that was driving the wrong direction on Interstate-90 (The Mass Pike).
After being run off the road into the grassy median that separates the East bound and West bound highway, I frantically dialed 9-1-1 to report the incident. Unfortunately, the next day we learnt right after running us off the road, an 84-year old driving the wrong way collided head on with a 28-year-old man; both were killed. One can only assume guard rails and traffic prevented the young man from swerving like we did.
We were shaken after the incident and saddened to read about this the next day. My thoughts are with the families affected by the tragedy.
Full story here.
The US currently ranks 16th in the world (percentage of population with college degrees). Washington D.C. has the highest percentage population of college graduates with 65.6% of the population. Massachusetts is the state with the highest percentage population of college graduates with 54.3%.
I’d venture a guess that the states with the higher percentage of college graduates also attract the higher paying jobs in the country. Obama’s goal to have the United States make college more affordable and accessible makes a lot of sense when you think about a person’s lifetime income potential and what that means for the future economic prosperity of our country. Less than one-third of the total population of the states listed below have college degrees (several points below the national average of 39.3%). While a college degree is not a pathway to prosperity, education can be a great equalizer offering more career options especially during economic downturns.
Alabama 31.1% Alaska 32% Arizona 32% Arkansas 28.4% Kentucky 32.3% Louisiana 29.5% Mississippi 30.7% Nevada 28.1% New Mexico 28.9% Oklahoma 31.4% Tennessee 32.1% Texas 31.7% West Virginia 28.9% See where your state ranks by linking here.