For Immediate Release - June 26, 2015

AG Healey Praises Supreme Court Decision to Uphold the Right to Marry Nationwide

AG Led Multistate Effort in Support of the Right to Marry; Argued that Laws Barring Same-Sex Couples from Marrying are Unconstitutional

BOSTON – Celebrating a victory for marriage equality nationwide, Attorney General Maura Healey today issued this statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court is a huge victory for the equality and dignity of all Americans. The right to marry the person you love is finally the law of the land, and it’s about time. In Massachusetts, we fought for and won this freedom more than 10 years ago. We have seen how marriage equality makes a real difference in the lives of couples and their children, and now the rest of the country will get to see the same. This ruling also ensures that families will not have to worry about losing essential legal protections when they travel or move out-of-state.  I am so proud of all of the work that so many put into this effort to make today’s ruling a reality.”

 

BACKGROUND:

In March, AG Healey led a filing of an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Massachusetts and 16 other jurisdictions, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The states argued that the Constitution requires marriage equality nationwide.

AG Healey has argued that the continued refusal by some states to license or recognize marriages between gay and lesbian couples inflicted widespread harm on these couples and their families, including those living in Massachusetts and other marriage equality states.  Major life decisions made by married same-sex couples, including about health care, education, employment, and residency, had been affected by the non-recognition of their marriages. At times, many couples refused to move to or simply avoided non-recognition states whenever possible.

AG Healey’s Supreme Court brief was inspired, in large part, by a number of testimonials submitted by gay and lesbian couples and their families across Massachusetts, after the office sought input from the public. These stories can be found on AG Healey’s Marriage Equality Facebook page.

In 2004, following the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s decision in Goodridge v. Dep't of Public Health, Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex couples to marry. Since that time, more than 20,000 same-sex couples have married in the Commonwealth.

In 2009, AG Healey led the Commonwealth’s successful challenge of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), arguing that the law discriminated against married Massachusetts couples and their children. In June 2013, the Supreme Court struck down DOMA as unconstitutional, relying significantly on many of the arguments developed in the Commonwealth’s case.

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