Denise Simmons, the first black lesbian mayor in America, has announced she is to marry her partner next weekend.

She was elected as mayor of the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, in January 2008. The state was the first in the US to legalise gay marriage.

A statement sent to local press revealed she will marry longtime partner, Mattie B Hayes on Sunday August 30th at St Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in the city.

Simmons said: “I believe this may be the very first African-American church to hold a same-gender wedding, and that’s something that just wouldn’t have happened years ago.

“But times are changing, people are becoming more accepting of their fellow citizens, and we are slowly arriving at more of a ‘live-and-let-live’ kind of world.”

She added: “It’s not an easy process, and there have certainly been some detours along the way, but I think all the kind words I’ve received about this ceremony suggest we’re living in a friendlier, more open society. Our society is definitely making progress.”

Simmons has served on the city council since 2001.

Cambridge, population 101,000, is the home of two of the best educational institutions in America, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It is on the outskirts of Boston.