September 28, 2012
In an important decision issued today, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled unanimously that Massachusetts must recognize other states’ parallel spousal statuses for same-sex couples, such as California registered domestic partnerships. Under the ruling, both spouses are the legal parents to children born into such unions.
The decision, written by Chief Justice Roderick Ireland, states, “Under Massachusetts law, children born into a legal spousal relationship are presumed to be the children of both spouses.” Moreover, “any child born as a result of artificial insemination with spousal consent is considered to be the child of the consenting spouse.”
“Because the parties to California RDPs [Registered Domestic Partnerships] have rights and responsibilities identical to those of marriage,” it is proper to treat “the parties’ RDP as equivalent to marriage in the Commonwealth.”
“We’re pleased that the Court agreed with our argument that Massachusetts should respect parallel spousal statuses like registered domestic partnerships, which provide all of the state-based protections for same-sex spouses, except for the name ‘marriage,’” said Senior Staff Attorney Vickie Henry of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).
“The parties met, fell in love, committed themselves to each other legally, and started a family,” said Henry. “Recognizing the legal status advances Massachusetts’ commitment to equality and honors the intentions of the parties. Most critically, recognition protects the children, securing their legal relationship to the two parents they have known.”
The ruling stems from the case A.E.H. v. M.R. GLAD represented A.E.H. in the appeal.