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Massachusetts Supreme Court to hear gay marriage challenge

[JURIST] The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts [official website] will hear a challenge to a 1913 state law that Massachusetts has used to block out-of-state gay couples from being married there. The 1913 law prohibits the commonwealth from granting marriage licenses to couples whose marriage would not be legal in their home states. Following the landmark ruling in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health [PDF] which legalized gay marriage, state officials have ordered city clerks not to give licenses to same-sex couples from other states. Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) [advocacy website] and 13 town clerks brought an action [GLAD complaint] arguing the law is discriminatory and has been selectively enforced to deny out-of-state couples their rights. A trial court rejected this contention, saying the law does not discriminate because it applies equally to both straight and gay couples. However, in a rare move, the Supreme Court took control of the case, bypassing the state appeals courts, and will hear oral arguments in September. The Supreme Court is also expected to hear [JURIST story] a challenge to the original Goodridge decision [court documents] brought by the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts [official website] in April. Read the GLAD trial court decision [PDF] and the town clerks trial court decision [PDF]. The Boston Globe has more.

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