Goodridge v. Massachusetts

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November 18, 2003

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the exclusion of same-sex couples from civil marriage in unconstitutional under the equality and liberty provisions of the Massachusetts Constitution. (“[W]e conclude that the marriage ban does not meet the rational basis test for either due process or equal protection.”)

To remedy this constitutional violation, the Court stated “We construe civil marriage to mean the voluntary union of two persons as spouses, to the exclusion of all others. This reformulation redresses the plaintiffs' constitutional injury and further the aim of marriage to promote stable, exclusive relationships.” It also added, “[E]xtending civil marriage to same-sex couples reinforces the importance of marriage to individuals and communities. That same-sex couples are willing to embrace marriage's solemn obligations of exclusivity, mutual support, and commitment to one another is a testament to the enduring place of marriage in our laws and in the human spirit.” For the complete text of the Goodridge decision see: Decision text

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