Archives and Special Collections
92 Snell Library
360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
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Name of Creator:Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus.
Title:Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus records
Date:1974-2007 (bulk 1978-2004)
Reference Code:M141
Location Code:58/3, 58/4
Extent:1.25 cubic ft.
Scope and Content Abstract:The Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus (the Caucus) records document the organization's activism within Massachusetts for achieving equality for gay men and lesbians on a range of issues, including civil rights and discrimination, domestic partnership recognition and benefits, same-sex marriage and parenthood, and healthcare. Events and projects undertaken by the Caucus as well as collaborations with Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, American Civil Liberties Union, Citizens for Participation in Political Action, and National Organization for Women, among others, are also documented. The collection contains the Caucus's bylaws, meeting minutes, candidate and legislation literature and endorsements, brochures, and fundraising documents. Also included in the collection are photographs of Caucus members, newspaper clippings, political buttons and publications, such as "Gay Civil Rights Legislation in Massachusetts" and "Jubilee 350 Boston, Gay Jubilee". Also represented in the collection are literature and information from individuals and other organizations within the local and national gay communities, and testimony and information from courts, legislatures, and newspapers outside of Massachusetts. Additionally, there is material demonstrating cooperation and support from state politicians such as Barney Frank, Elaine Noble, Byron Rushing, Paul Tsongas, and Gov. Michael Dukakis. Of special interest is personal correspondence between David Gearhart, a prominent member of the Caucus, and John Paul Hudson, a gay activist and author, concerning Paul Guilbert, a gay Rhode Island teen who successfully sued his high school for permission to bring his boyfriend as his date to the prom.
Historical Abstract:The Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus (the Caucus) was founded in 1973 to fight for social equality for the gay and lesbian community in Massachusetts. Originally titled the Boston Advocates for Human Rights, the organization changed its name to Massachusetts Caucus for Gay Legislation in 1976 to reflect its focus on statewide legislation. The organization adopted its current name in 1987. The Caucus was the first group within the gay and lesbian community to employ a lobbyist to work full-time on equal rights for gay men and lesbians. Since its creation, the Caucus has worked toward creating and promoting legislation that benefits gay men and lesbians. Initially, the Caucus focused on three statewide bills: to prohibit discrimination based on sexual preference in state employment, to prohibit discrimination statewide, and to amend the criminal code in regards to sexual conduct between consenting adults. The Caucus's focus has since grown to include issues such as same-sex marriage and parenthood. On November 15, 1989, the Caucus achieved a major victory when Governor Michael Dukakis signed the Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights Bill into law. More recent successes included the passage of the Domestic Partner Benefits Bill in 2001 and the Freedom to Marry Act in 2004. The Caucus continues to monitor these issues to ensure the laws remain in effect. The Caucus promotes participation from supporters of these issues by hosting annual lobbying events such as the Constituent Lobby Day, sending candidate and legislation endorsement letters, and collaborating with other local, state, and national gay and lesbian organizations.
Language and Scripts:
Arrangement:The collection is organized alphabetically by subject.
Subjects and Contributors:
  • Gearhart, David
  • Hoffman, Barbara
  • Isaacson, Arline
  • Tierney, Stephen

  • Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus
  • Massachusetts Caucus for Gay Legislation
  • Massachusetts Gay Political Caucus

  • Civil Rights -- Massachusetts
  • Gays -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- Massachusetts
  • Gay activists -- Massachusetts
  • Gay liberation movement -- Massachusetts
  • Gay rights -- Massachusetts
  • Lesbian activists -- Massachusetts
  • Lobbying -- Law and legislation -- Massachusetts
  • Nonprofit organizations -- Massachusetts

Restrictions:The collection is unrestricted.
Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the University Archivist.
Related Materials:

The Archives and Special Collections Department capture the website content of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, which is accessible at:*/

Processor:Finding aid prepared by Marietta Carr, November 20, 2007