Cambridge Mayor comes out during Pride Brunch

by Hannah Clay Wareham
Friday Jun 18, 2010

Maher is the city's third openly gay mayor.

Cambridge, Massachusetts Mayor David Maher publicly opened up about his sexuality for the first time during the city's 20th annual Pride Brunch, held on June 13. Maher is the third openly gay mayor in a row the city of Cambridge has seen.

"In the early 1990s my city council colleague Ken Reeves came out as the first openly gay mayor of Cambridge -- since that time Denise Simmons and I have both had the privilege and honor of serving as mayor," Maher told the group gathered inside the Council Chambers, acknowledging that he fits the recent trend of openly gay mayors in Cambridge.

"I have never made a secret about who I am or what I am," Maher later told the Cambridge Chronicle. "I've tried very hard to separate my public life from my private life."

The mayor said that his statement was not intended to be any kind of big announcement.

"It was done in such a lovely, unassuming way," said State Rep. Marty Waltz, the event's keynote speaker. "Like, 'this is who I am.'" Waltz told the Chronicle that she was proud of Maher's "courageous" words.

The Chronicle reported that Maher has been with his partner for more than 30 years.

"I think some people had validated what they already knew," he said. "I continue to value my private life."

Maher was elected mayor in February of this year by the Cambridge City Council. He also serves as the Chairman of the Cambridge School Committee.

"Good for Mayor Maher. No matter where they serve, it's still a brave and good thing for elected officials who are gay to talk about that openly and honestly. Having out officials in leadership roles does a lot to dispel fears about LGBT people. It demonstrates we're as committed and dedicated to our communities as everyone else," said Denis Dison, Vice President of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. "Cambridge now has its third openly gay mayor in a row, and the Massachusetts GOP's candidate for lieutenant governor is openly gay, which are extraordinary developments. That said, out elected officials are still rare in America, and many states have still never elected an openly gay state legislator, including large states like Florida and Pennsylvania."

During the Brunch, Maher, 51, also spoke about the 41st anniversary of New York's Stonewall Riots and the 40th anniversary of Boston Pride, and applauded the city of Cambridge for being what he referred to as "a leader in the fight for equality for all its residents."

"In the last 20 years," he said, "we as a community have become a more diverse, welcoming, and respectful community for all."

"Riots to Rights - Celebrating 40 Years of Progress" recognition awards were given out to local activists during the Pride Brunch. Recipients included Chris Mason, whose "Driving Equality" project takes him across the country examining equality and discrimination and Rev. Leslie K. Sterling, the first African American female priest at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church. Sterling married City Councilor and former Cambridge Mayor Denise Simmons to her partner Mattie Hayes last August. Simmons was the nation's first openly lesbian African American mayor.

Angela McKenzie, a Cambridge Rindge and Latin student and member of Project 10 East, was also honored at the Brunch, and received the annual Rose Lipkin Award.

David Maher did not return calls for comment by press time.

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