- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 9, 2002

Seven same-sex couples seeking Massachusetts "marriage licenses" were rejected yesterday by a judge who said marriage is reserved for couples with the ability to give birth and raise children.
"This court acknowledges the inherent contradiction that the commonwealth allows same-sex couples to establish legal relationships with their children but not with each other," Suffolk Superior Court Judge Thomas E. Connolly said as he noted Massachusetts allows homosexual couples to adopt but not to "marry."
"This court recognizes that societal attitudes and norms are constantly evolving. Today, many married couples choose not to, or cannot, bear children. Likewise, many same-sex couples do have children," said Judge Connolly, who held a hearing March 12 in the case named Hillary and Julie Goodridge, et al, v. Public Health Commissioner Howard Koh.
The judge's decision denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples was criticized yesterday.
"We are deeply disappointed that the court did not recognize that we seek simply the same legal protections for our family that other committed couples throughout the commonwealth enjoy," Hillary Goodridge said yesterday.
Jennifer Levi, senior staff attorney at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and a lawyer for the couples, pledged to appeal to the state's highest court and called it ironic to use child-bearing as a basis for refusal when four of the seven couples have children.
"The decision is particularly troubling because Heidi [Norton] and I, like many of our gay and lesbian neighbors, have children," said Gina Smith. Two other female couples and three male couples are among the plaintiffs.
"Our objective in this round was primarily to begin the process of making our case for equal treatment of all families in the commonwealth," Miss Smith said. "We have always known that there will be no final resolution in this case until it is heard by the Supreme Judicial Court."
That is the only point of agreement between GLAD and Massachusetts Citizens for Marriage, a pro-family organization whose crusade against same-sex marriage in Massachusetts includes an effort to amend the state Constitution in 2004 to ban it.
"We see this as a very positive decision. It's very sound, but this is far from the end. We need the constitutional amendment," said James Lafferty of the group opposing same-sex marriage.
The couples' claims were based on denial of marriage license applications in the spring of 2001 at offices in Boston, Newton, Northbridge, Northampton and Orleans.
Homosexual activist groups fighting the amendment to ban same-sex marriage have been pressing Senate President Thomas F. Birmingham to block a vote that would put it on the 2004 ballot.
"We feel once we get it on the ballot we're in pretty good shape," said Mr. Lafferty, whose group also believes single-parent families are not good environments for raising children.


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