On this date GERRY STUDDS the first United States congressman to come out while in office, was born. (d: 2006), After retiring from Congress in 1997, Studds worked as executive director of the New Bedford Oceanarium. Studds and husband Dean T. Hara (his partner since 1991) were married in Boston in May 2004, one week after same-sex marriages became legal in Massachusetts. Studds died on October 14, 2006 in Boston, at age sixty-nine, several days after suffering a pulmonary embolism.

Due to the federal ban on same-sex marriage, then, Hara was not eligible to receive the pension provided to surviving spouses of former members of Congress upon Studds’ death. If you ever travel to Provincetown, Massachusetts and take a whale watch tour out into the open sea, you will experience the beautiful wonder of the denizens of the Stellwagen Bank. It is now known as the Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, which sits at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay. An appropriate memorial for a man who’s openness brought out the beauty from the depths.