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City of Boston removes gender markers from marriage licenses

Published Friday, Sep. 8th, 2023

Photo: Jimmy Woo / Unsplash

As of this week, couples in Boston are no longer required to register their sex or gender when applying for a marriage license, and this information will no longer appear on marriage licenses. 


This exciting change is part of a larger effort by officials to create a more inclusive and welcoming city, and to develop ‘gender-aware’ standards and practices that reflect the city's diverse residents, including those in the LGBTQIA+ community (via


Previously, marriage applicants were asked to indicate their gender identity when completing official paperwork. This data was intended to help guide the development of government programs, but the markers were limiting, especially for nonbinary, agender, and other gender diverse applicants. Eliminating restrictive gender markers makes the marriage application process easier and more inclusive of gender diverse residents, while also protecting their safety and privacy. 


Related: Gender Neutral Wedding Terms for Inclusive Officiants


Removing gender markers also creates space and acceptance for changing identities; As the city's director of policy and strategic initiatives, Kimberley Rhoten, pointed out during a press conference, “...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." (via 


In the past (and currently in other places), couples could apply for a revised license to reflect a change in gender identity, but this process could be complicated. 


“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,” Boston’s Mayor Michelle Wu said of the update, adding, “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...” (via


Related: Short Inclusive LGBTQ+ Wedding Ceremony Script


This change will not effect other aspects of the marriage license application process in Boston. You must be at least 18 years old to get married in Massachusetts, and marriage licenses are valid for 60 days from the day you apply. For more information on how to apply for a marriage license in Boston, visit How to Get Married in Boston. 



Get the full scoop in this press release from the Boston Mayor’s Office. 




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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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