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Goodridge v. Department of Public Health

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
798 N.E.2d 941 (2003)


Seven same-sex couples in committed relationships including Hillary and Julie Goodridge (plaintiffs) filed individual lawsuits against the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (Department) (defendant) after being denied marriage licenses. Plaintiffs espoused the desire to marry in order to affirm their commitments publicly and to obtain legal and other benefits. The Department defended its position on the grounds that (1) the principal purpose of marriage is procreation, (2) marriage between heterosexual couples provides the best environment for child rearing, and (3) barring same-sex marriage is needed to conserve state and private resources. The trial court ruled in favor of the Department, and plaintiffs appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Marshall, C.J.)

Dissent (Spina, J.)

Dissent (Sosman, J.)

Dissent (Cordy, J.)

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