News Articles

Massachusetts high court hears arguments for same-sex ‘marriage’

BOSTON (BP)–Massachusetts’ highest court heard oral arguments March 4 in a case that some observers believe could lead to the nation’s first legalization of homosexual “marriages.”

The Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments from a lawyer representing seven gay and lesbian couples, The Boston Globe reported.

The case is considered a possible boost to homosexual activists because of the liberal makeup of the court. Two years ago Vermont became the first state to recognize what it calls same-sex “unions,” which give homosexual couples many of the rights of heterosexual couples without using the term “marriage.”

The plaintiffs in the Massachusetts case want the high court to take the next step. The case cannot be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Why should we do something that virtually no other state has done?” Justice Judith Cowin asked plaintiff attorney Mary Bonauto, according to The Globe.

“The court should do so because it is the right thing to do,” Bonauto answered. “The exclusion of the plaintiffs from marriage … violates the fundamental right that these plaintiffs enjoy with all others in this commonwealth.”

The judges also asked Bonauto what would prevent a new law from applying to polygamy, The Globe reported. She responded that nobody within the state — the legislature or the judiciary — has proposed that marriage be composed of more than two people.

One of the justices asked Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General Judith Yogman if she saw a conflict between allowing homosexuals to adopt but not allowing them to “marry.”

“Not at all, your honor,” Yogman responded, according to the newspaper. “Adoption is one thing. Marriage has many other responsibilities and benefits associated with it other than child-rearing.”

The case has drawn national attention. The attorneys general of Utah, South Dakota and Nebraska filed friend-of-the-court briefs supporting the state and its marriage laws, The Washington Times reported. On the other side, major law firms and law schools have filed briefs in support of the plaintiffs, the paper said.

The plaintiff’s goal is to win the Massachusetts case and then build on that victory nationwide, Alliance for Marriage director Matt Daniels said, according to The Times.

“[Their goal is to] get courts to destroy marriage as the union of male and female in one state,” he told the newspaper. “Once they have that, they will launch an attack in the name of false constitutional arguments on the marriage laws in all 50 states and the federal DOMA [Defense of Marriage Act].”
The Defense of Marriage Act is a federal law that protects states in cases such as the Massachusetts one. Under the act, states are not obligated to recognize another state’s same-sex unions or “marriages.”

The case is Goodridge v. Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

    About the Author

  • Staff