Rhode Island gay couple asks Massachusetts court to let them marry

[JURIST] A same-sex couple argued in court in Boston Monday that a 1913 Massachusetts law [text] should not prevent them from marrying in the state because statutes in their home state of Rhode Island do not explicitly ban gay marriage. Mary Norton and Mary Becker [GLAD profiles], represented by an attorney with the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) [advocacy website], said the law prohibiting same-sex couples from pursuing a marriage in Massachusetts does not apply to Rhode Island residents [GLAD legal brief, PDF] because there is no "express pronouncement" against gay marriage in their home state's laws. The couple filed an "intention to marry" notice in Massachusetts shortly after the state started performing same-sex marriages [JURIST news archive] in 2004, but the 1913 law ostensibly prevented them from obtaining a license.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court [official website] ruled [JURIST report] in March that gay couples from New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Connecticut could not marry in Massachusetts according to the law, but remanded part of the case to the Massachusetts Superior Court [official website] to decide whether the same prohibition applied to couples from Rhode Island and New York. The Massachusetts Attorney General [official website] is arguing against the couple and state lawyers said Monday that the Rhode Island laws make references to bride and groom [Attorney General legal brief, PDF], therefore indicating that marriage is only lawful between a woman and man. The superior court judge is expected to make his ruling in the case within the next six weeks. AP has more.

 

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