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Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health

Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health

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Published by: malbarracin on Jul 14, 2011
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SJC-08860HILLARY GOODRIDGE & others
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vs. DEPARTMENT OFPUBLIC HEALTH & another.
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 Suffolk. March 4, 2003. - November 18, 2003.Present: Marshall, C.J., Greaney, Ireland, Spina, Cowin, Sosman,& Cordy, JJ.License. Marriage. Statute, Construction. Constitutional Law,Police power, Equal protection of laws. Due Process of Law,Marriage. Words, "Marriage."Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department onApril 11, 2001.The case was heard by Thomas E. Connolly, J., on motions forsummary judgment.The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for directappellate review.Mary Lisa Bonauto (Gary D. Buseck with her) for HillaryGoodridge.Judith S. Yogman, Assistant Attorney General, for Departmentof Public Health.The following submitted briefs for amici curiae:Joseph P.J. Vrabel, Mark D. Mason, & Martin W. Healy forMassachusetts Bar Association.Leslie Cooper & James D. Esseks, of New York, Jon W.Davidson & Shannon Minter, of California, Elliot M. Mincberg &Judith E. Schaeffer, of the District of Columbia, & JohnReinstein, Sarah R. Wunsch, Paul Holtzman, & Hugh Dun Rappaportfor Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts & others.Paul Benjamin Linton, of Illinois, & Thomas M. Harvey forRobert J. Araujo & others.Dwight G. Duncan for Massachusetts Family Institute, Inc., &others.
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Julie Goodridge, David Wilson, Robert Compton, MichaelHorgan, Edward Balmelli, Maureen Brodoff, Ellen Wade, GaryChalmers, Richard Linnell, Heidi Norton, Gina Smith, GloriaBailey, and Linda Davies.
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Commissioner of Public Health.
 
 2Glen Lavy, of Arizona, Stephen W. Reed, of California, &Bertin C. Emmons for National Association for Research andTherapy of Homosexuality, Inc., & others.Robert W. Ash & Vincent P. McCarthy, of Connecticut, &Philip E. Cleary for The Common Good Foundation & others.Don Stenberg, Attorney General of Nebraska, Mark L.Shurtleff, Attorney General of Utah, Brent A. Burnett, AssistantAttorney General of Utah, & Mark Barnett, Attorney General ofSouth Dakota, for the State of Utah & others.Chester Darling & Michael Williams for MassachusettsCitizens Alliance & another.Daniel Avila for The Catholic Action League ofMassachusetts.Joshua K. Baker, of California, & Robert G. Caprera for JoséMartín de Agar & others.Wendy J. Herdlein, of California, & James R. Knudsen for theHonorable Philip Travis & others.Steven W. Fitschen, of Virginia, for The National LegalFoundation.Jeffrey A. Shafer & David R. Langdon, of Ohio, William C.Duncan, of Utah, & Wendy J. Herdlein, of California, for MarriageLaw Project.Lisa Rae, Kenneth Elmore, Arthur Berney, & Josephine Rossfor The Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry & others.Ann DiMaria for The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission &others.Anthony Mirenda, Vickie L. Henry, Lucy Fowler, John M.Granberry, Rachel N. Lessem, & Gabriel M. Helmer for Robert F.Williams & others.Kenneth J. Parsigian for Peter W. Bardaglio & others.David Cruz, of New York, John Taylor Williams, Carol V.Rose, Debra Squires-Lee, Christopher Morrison, & Marni GoldsteinCaputo for William E. Adams & others.Martin J. Newhouse & Katharine Bolland for Coalition gaie etlesbienne du Québec & others.Joseph Ureneck, pro se.Teresa S. Collett, of Texas, & Luke Stanton for Free MarketFoundation.Peter F. Zupcofska, L. Tracee Whitley, Heidi A. Nadel, &Corin R. Swift for Boston Bar Association & another.Mary Jo Johnson, Jonathan A. Shapiro, & Amy L. Nash for TheMassachusetts Psychiatric Society & others.Tony R. Maida, Nina Joan Kimball, & Justine H. Brousseau forLibby Adler & others.Daryl J. Lapp, Kevin D. Batt, & Katharine Silbaugh forMonroe Inker & another.David Zwiebel, Mordechai Biser, & Nathan J. Diament, of NewYork, & Abba Cohen, of the District of Columbia, for AgudathIsrael of America & others.
 
 3 MARSHALL, C.J. Marriage is a vital social institution. Theexclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtureslove and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. Forthose who choose to marry, and for their children, marriageprovides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits.In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and socialobligations. The question before us is whether, consistent withthe Massachusetts Constitution, the Commonwealth may deny theprotections, benefits, and obligations conferred by civilmarriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry.We conclude that it may not. The Massachusetts Constitutionaffirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbidsthe creation of second-class citizens. In reaching ourconclusion we have given full deference to the arguments made bythe Commonwealth. But it has failed to identify anyconstitutionally adequate reason for denying civil marriage tosame-sex couples.We are mindful that our decision marks a change in thehistory of our marriage law. Many people hold deep-seatedreligious, moral, and ethical convictions that marriage should belimited to the union of one man and one woman, and thathomosexual conduct is immoral. Many hold equally strongreligious, moral, and ethical convictions that same-sex couplesare entitled to be married, and that homosexual persons should betreated no differently than their heterosexual neighbors.

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