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Prenuptial Agreement<br>Related Legal Information  

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Massachusetts Court Affirms Marriage Law.

In Boston on Wednesday, Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Thomas Connolly affirmed Massachusetts Marriage laws in round one of the Massachusetts Marriage litigation. The lawsuit, filed by seven same-sex couples in April of last year, argues that same-sex couples are entitled to Legal recognition as married spouses. In their briefs and argument before the court, the plaintiffs rested heavily on themes of love and choice, arguing that the Massachusetts Marriage laws unconstitutionally deny same-sex couples the right "to marry the person of one's choice," and "to marry the person whom they love."
In his 26-page opinion, Judge Connolly dismissed such arguments, concluding that a right to same-sex Marriage had no basis in the history and traditions of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and thus was not protected as a fundamental right under the Massachusetts Constitution. In the absence of special constitutional protections for same-sex unions, the judge held that the state was justified in choosing to recognize Marriage as a male-female union. Judge Connolly specifically noted the unique contributions which Marriage makes to society through procreation and the raising of children, giving support to the Legal distinctions between same-sex partners and Married Couples. Judge Connolly went on to address the apparent inconsistency created by laws which permit same-sex couples to jointly adopt a child, while at the same time declining to recognize the relationship between the partners. Connolly concluded that that the responsibility for reconciling any such statutory inconsistency lay with the Legislature, and was not within the jurisdiction of the court.
GLAD, representing the seven same-sex couples, immediately announced its intention to appeal the case to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Marriage supporters around the nation are pleased with the decision, yet aware that the decisive battles lay further down the road. Currently pending in a constitutional convention of the Massachusetts Legislature is an amendment initiative which would solidify the definition of Marriage as the union of a man and a woman. A challenge to the language of the amendment was argued before the Supreme Judicial Court yesterday, while the Legislature is required to vote on whether it should go before voters before adjourning in July.
Sources: Marriage Law Project Press Release, May 9, 2002, at; Kathleen Burge, "Judge Dismisses Same-Sex Marriage Suit," Boston Globe, May 9, 2002, at B6; Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, Docket #2001-1647A, Suffolk Co. Super. Ct. (Mass.).
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