Goodridge et al. v. Dept. Public Health
In a historic opinion on November 18, 2003, GLAD won a ruling from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that gay and lesbian couples can no longer be excluded from civil marriage rights in Massachusetts. GLAD filed the case in April 2001. The 4-3 opinion was the first of its kind in this country by a final appellate court.
On February 4, 2004 the Supreme Judicial Court issued its Opinions of the Justices to the Senate confirming that a proposed civil union bill does not meet the mandates of liberty and equality of the state constitution. The Court reconfirmed that its ruling in Goodridge v. Dep’t. of Public Health required the end of the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. This opinion was issued in response to the Massachusetts Senate’s request for an advisory opinion as to whether a “civil unions” bill would satisfy the state constitution. The Court recognized that civil unions create a separate and unequal status.