Contents

Massachusetts Case Legalizing Marriage

Massachusetts Laws

Selected Massachusetts Case Law

Federal Laws

Federal Cases

Web Sources

Print Sources

Information for Residents of Other States


Massachusetts Case Legalizing Marriage

Goodridge v. Mass. Department of Public Health , 440 Mass. 309 (2003). Massachusetts' "gay marriage" decision. "Barred access to the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage, a person who enters into an intimate, exclusive union with another of the same sex is arbitrarily deprived of membership in one of our community's most rewarding and cherished institutions. That exclusion is incompatible with the constitutional principles of respect for individual autonomy and equality under law." For briefs and other pleadings, see Goodridge v. Department of Public Health Case Documents , Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD).

Massachusetts Laws

Massachusetts Constitution

MGL c.207 Marriage. The same laws and procedures that govern traditional marriage also apply to same-sex marriages. There are no special procedures for a same-sex marriage.

Selected Massachusetts Case Law

Adoption of a Minor , 471 Mass 373 (2015)
Lawful parentage, and its associated rights and responsibilities, are conferred by statute on the consenting spouse of a married couple whose child is conceived by one woman of the marriage, through the use of assisted reproductive technology consented to by both women. (Chapter 46 sec 4B)

Della Corte v. Ramirez , 81 Mass. App. Ct. 906 (2012)
A child born of a same-sex marriage is the legitimate child of both people. "As a result, it follows that when there is a marriage between same-sex couples, the need for that second-parent adoption to, at the very least, confer legal parentage on the nonbiological parent is eliminated when the child is born of the marriage."

Elia-Warnken v. Elia , 463 Mass. 29 (2012)
"A Vermont civil union is the functional equivalent of a marriage." Therefore, " a Vermont civil union must be dissolved prior to either party entering into marriage with a third person in the Commonwealth."

Hunter v. Rose , 463 Mass. 488 (2012)
"A registered same-sex domestic partnership entered into in California was the equivalent of marriage in the Commonwealth."

Federal Laws

U.S. Constitution, Article IV ("full faith and credit")

1 USC 7 Defense of Marriage Act. Definition of "Marriage" and "Spouse"
Held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor links to PDF file , 570 US 12 (2013)

28 USC 1738C Certain Acts, Records, Proceedings and the Effect Thereof

Federal Cases

Obergefell v. Hodges links to PDF file , 576 US __ (June 26, 2015). Same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. "[T]he right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. The Court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry."

United States v. Windsor links to PDF file , 570 US 12 (2013)
US Supreme Court held "DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution."

Web Sources

Print Sources

Information for Residents of Other States

Residents of Other States Marrying in Massachusetts

St.2008, c.216 was enacted on July 31, 2008, repealing the so-called "1913 laws" (MGL c.207, s.11, 12, 13, and 50) which prohibited most same-sex couples from other states from marrying in Massachusetts. Residents of other states may now follow the same procedures as Massachusetts residents for marrying. See Mass. Law About Marriage for more information and forms.

Legal Issues For Non-Massachusetts Same-Sex Couples Who Married In Massachusetts Prior To July 31, 2008 links to PDF file , GLAD, 2011. Explains in detail which couples have valid marriage, which have void marriages, and which have voidable marriages, with information on what you may need to do to stay married or to end your marriage.

Memo to Clerks Regarding Impediments to Marriage links to PDF file , Registry of Vital Statistics, 2012. Explains process for people who have a valid civil union from another state.


Last update: February 23, 2016

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