On November 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that there is no rational basis under the law to deny a marriage license to same-sex couples. On May 17, 2004, marriage licenses began to be issued to same-sex couples in Massachusetts.
In June 2007, the Massachusetts legislature defeated a discriminatory, anti-gay, anti-marriage Constitutional amendment that had been proposed. The final 151 to 45 vote was a strong legislative victory for the freedom to marry. Finally, in July 2008, the Massachusetts legislature, along with a signature from Gov. Deval Patrick, signed a law that upholds the freedom to marry for same-sex couples from outside of Massachusetts to get married in the state. Both houses of the state legislature overwhelmingly voted in favor of the law, which repealed a discriminatory law from 1913 that had blocked such marriages. In a statement, Patrick said: "The 1913 law is outdated and discriminatory; repealing it is the right thing to do."
GROUPS THAT WORKED ON MARRIAGE:
- MassEquality is a coalition of local and national organizations defending equal marriage rights for same-sex couples in Massachusetts.
- Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.
- Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders is New England's leading legal rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status and gender identity and expression.
Voters in Massachusetts are very happy with the fact that their state recognizes the freedom to marry. 58% of residents said they think marriage between same-sex couples should be legal, and only 31% say it should be illegal. Only 12% of respondents said they think there should be no legal recognition of same-sex relationships at all. (Public Policy Polling, March 2012)
NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES:
According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 20,256 same-sex couples are living in Massachusetts, representing 8.0 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.
Blog Posts Related to Massachusetts
As a national movement leader, Lee Swislow, the departing executive director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, has brought her unique skills to our movement: helping us listen to one another better and elevating our ability to collaborate and get things done.
As yesterday's historic victory sinks in, the one couple that keeps coming to mind is Ralph Hodgdon and Paul McMahon. I dedicate this win to you, Ralph and Paul, and to all the other amazing couples who show everyone that our love endures.
Today marks the ninth anniversary of the first weddings between same-sex couples in Massachusetts! Now, less than ten years after that historic day in Massachusetts, same-sex couples across the New England region have the freedom to marry.
Resources Related to Massachusetts
This is the piece that Evan Wolfson published in the September 11, 2001 edition of 'The Advocate,' laying out the pathway forward for the campaign to win marriage nationwide. The article serves as a blueprint for the movement for marriage.
The Southern Poverty Law Center provides a detailed listing of anti-gay groups know for their dangerous propaganda aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
A listing of both state and national political parties that have made strong statements in support of the freedom to marry.