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Massachusetts Makes History

Gays and Lesbians Legally Marry

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Just Married in Massachusetts

Recently married couples from Northampton, MA leave the court house.

Mary Belge
Today, May 17, 2004 history was made. For the first time in United States, gay and lesbian couples were wed in a state that legally recognizes them. It was a long fight for Julie and Hilary Goodridge, two of the plantiffs who took the case to court. According to the Boston Globe, Julie Goodridge said, "Next to the birth of our daughter, Annie, this is the happiest day of our lives.''

The Cambridge city hall opened at midnight and Marcia Hams, 56, Susan Shepherd, 52, were the first to receive a marriage license. The couple has been together 27 years.

Currently only in-state residents can marry because of a 1913 law that says couples cannot be married there if the marriage would be void in their home state. Provincetown, a gay and lesbian vacation spot and tourist destination has vowed to ignore the law and marry out of state couples anyway.

Although gay and lesbian couples have wed in New Paltz, NY, San Francisco, CA and Portland, OR, Massachusetts is the only state whose legal system will recognize same-sex marriages. Activists in Oregon and California are pushing the issues through the courts. Since gay and lesbian marriages are not recognized on a Federal level, the couples married in Massachusetts will be in somewhat of a legal limbo until matters are sorted out. Some lawmakers are pushing for a Constituitional ban on same-sex marriage.

Further reading:

The Difference Between Marriage and Civil Unions

Where Can gay and lesbian couples get married?

Proposed Amendment to the United States Constitution to ban same-sex marriage

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