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May 27, 2009

Historian Linda Kerber on the influence of Massachusetts C.J. Marshall on other marriage decisions

University of Iowa historian Linda Kerber, who has previously written in this space about the Iowa marriage decision, has a new piece in the Boston Globe discussing the influence that the Massachusetts Goodridge decision on same sex-marriage -- and specifically its author, Chief Justice Margaret Marshall -- has had on other state supreme courts.  She writes in part:

Marshall's sensitivity to historical change is apparent in her reasoning in the Goodridge decision. In a context in which defenders of the status quo were likely to claim that heterosexual marriage practices have been permanent over time, a defense of same-sex marriage virtually requires engagement with assertions that "history teaches" that understandings of the meaning of marriage are not subject to change.

Drawing in part on the brief contributed by 25 "professors of the History of Marriage, Families and the Law" based in law schools and liberal arts faculties, the decision instructed its readers in the ways in which the practices of marriage in the state of Massachusetts have changed over time, just as the meanings of equality have necessarily changed over time in order, paradoxically, to safeguard the principle of equality.

-SS

May 27, 2009 | Permalink

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Comments

Chief Justice Marshall was court-o-rama's pick for SCOTUS! Unfortunately, nobody listens to us. See http://court-o-rama.org/?category=Judges&post=marshall2

Posted by: Anne | May 27, 2009 4:27:26 PM

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