Friday, March 31, 2006

Case Law Development: Massachusetts Law Prohibits Marriage to Out-State Residents if Marriage Unavailable in their Home State

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massacusetts has affirmed a trial court's decision that it would not enjoin enforcement of a 1913 state law which prohibits marriage to out-of-state residents in Massachusetts if their union would not be permitted in their home state. The court agreed that judgment for the defendants should be entered against the plaintiffs who reside in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont because same-sex marriage is prohibited in those States. As to the New York and Rhode Island plaintiffs, the court directed that their cases should proceed in the Superior Court, on an expedited basis, for a determination whether same-sex marriage is prohibited in their states.

In his concurring opinion, Judge Spina interpreted the 1913 law to require that Massachusetts bar all same-sex marriages by out-of-state residents unless the state affirmatively allows such marriages. 

Cote-Whitacre v. Department of Public Health, 2006 Mass. LEXIS 110 (March 30, 2006)
Opinion on the web (last visited March 31, 2006 bgf)

For news reports and commentary on the decision see The Advocate and The Boston Globe

COTE-WHITACRE v. DEPARTMENT OF PUB. HEALTH, 2006 Mass. LEXIS 110

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/family_law/2006/03/case_law_develo_38.html

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