Goodridge v. Department of Public Health

Ten Years After Goodridge, Gay Marriage is Here to Stay

Hi there,

Until I got online last night I hadn’t realized that we are ten years out from the Goodridge decision. I can still remember where I was when I read it back in 2003, and it was the only time I had ever cried (I was so moved by the language) when reading a decision. It wasn’t until last night that I realized Peter Zupcofska, my partner in the Private Client Group here, had written an amicus brief on behalf of Goodridge.

In the 10 years since Goodridge, gay marriage has become woven into the social fabric of Massachusetts. Initially due to DOMA, the legal process of both gay marriage and gay divorce was extremely complicated.

Over the course of time other states joined Massachusetts, some not allowing gay marriage but allowing gay divorce of couples legally married in another state.

This past June, DOMA was overturned by the Supreme Court. Since then, gay divorce, at least in Massachusetts and the other states that allow gay marriage/divorce has become simpler, cleaner and more straightforward.

Currently gay marriage is also in the gossip news as the Cheney family seems to be enmeshed … Keep reading

Robin Lynch Nardone

Hi there,Robin Lynch Nardone of Burns & Levinson

Yesterday the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decided to treat Civil Unions like marriage.  My colleague, Robin Lynch Nardone has some thoughts on this.



A civil union may not be the same as a marriage, but in the eyes of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, it is.  The SJC has ruled that a Vermont civil union is the equivalent of a marriage in Massachusetts.

The SJC was asked to rule on the question of whether or not a civil union must be dissolved before a party to that civil union can enter into a valid marriage in Massachusetts.  Todd Warnken entered into a civil union in Vermont in 2003 and then entered into a marriage with Richard Elia in Massachusetts in 2005.  Mr. Warnken had not taken any steps to legally end his civil union before marrying Mr. Elia in Massachusetts.  When Mr. Warnken filed for divorce in Massachusetts in 2009, Mr. Elia, having learned of the civil union, moved to dismiss the complaint for divorce on the grounds that the marriage was void under Massachusetts law.  In Massachusetts, polygamy (having more than one spouse at the same time) is illegal.  A marriage is not valid … Keep reading