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Boston Marriage Certificates No Longer Require Gender Identification

By Laura Temme, Esq. | Last updated on

Couples tying the knot in Boston can now get a marriage certificate without identifying their gender or sex, thanks to new city guidelines. The new policy for city workers also includes guidance on when it is appropriate to ask someone their gender and the best ways to ask for a person's pronouns or chosen name.

The gender-aware guidelines and standards for city services build on Boston's gender inclusion ordinance and other efforts to provide "more dignified experiences" for all residents dealing with local government.

Boston's Gender Inclusion Efforts

Passed unanimously by the Boston City Council in 2020, the city's gender inclusion ordinance requires that all city-issued forms and documents:

  • Include a non-binary gender identification option (where a gender or sex designation is required)
  • Provide an option for individuals to indicate their chosen name (if it is different from their legal name)
  • Reflect gender inclusion and inclusion of all family structures

In 2022, Mayor Michelle Wu announced the creation of the Office of LGBTQ+ Advancement, a division of the mayor's office that promotes Genders and Sexualities Alliances (GSA) in schools, offers mini-grants to individuals and organizations in the community, and gathers data to improve the way local government discusses gender.

What Information Is Required for a Boston Marriage License?

Boston uses a "Marriage Intention" form to gather important details for your marriage license. Once you've made your appointment at city hall, you can complete most of the paperwork online. You and your partner will need to provide the following info:

  • Your legal names
  • What last name you intend to use after marrying
  • Your current address(s)
  • Your birth date and place of birth
  • Your parents' names (including maiden names)
  • Whether your parents were married when you were born
  • Whether you've been married before (and how many times)
  • If you have been married before, when the marriage ended and how (divorce, annulment, widowed)

When you go to city hall, you'll need valid IDs and your Social Security numbers. The $50 marriage license fee is also due at that appointment. Marriage licenses are valid for 60 days after they are issued.

If you're getting married soon and already have your marriage license, you can get it updated under the new rules by visiting the city's Registry Department.

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