Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health


In Mass., a gay and lesbian support organization (GLAD) sued the state’s Department of Health for their failure to issue same-sex married couples a marriage license.  GLAD sued under the equal protection clause.  GLAD also argued that there are many other benefits accompanying a marriage license, such as property rights and tax benefits which same-sex couples unjustly cannot receive.  The state of Mass. argued that there was a legitimate governmental interest in discriminating on the basis of gender, in that the institution of marriage existed to promote procreation; and because same-sex couples could not further than goal, the state had an interest in disallowing their marital rights.  The state also argued that there were parental benefits in promoting different sex relationships.  Finally, the state argued that there would be administrative inconvenience in suddenly allowing same sex couples to marry.


Whether the denial of a marriage license to same sex couples violates the equal protection clause and/or the Mass. state constitution.


Yes, the law is invalid and same sex couples shall be allowed marital rights in the state of Mass.  The court wrote that the state’s arguments for denying marital rights to same sex couples did not supply enough justification in terms of the “governmental interest” sought in their procurement.  The court argued that modern day technology and fertilization techniques nullified the procreation argument.  Same sex couples, through adoption of other fertilization methods could procreate.  Secondly, the court found no productive argument favoring the notion that same sex couples were inferior parents to children.  Finally, the court believed the state did not demonstrate adequate administrative difficulty to fully deny a single class of citizens their basic marital rights.  As such, the state failed to supply their legitimate governmental interest burden.

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