Goodridge v. Department of Public Health

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In Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, 440 Mass. 309 (2003), the Massachusetts Supreme Court declared it to be unconstitutional for the legislature not to grant same-sex marriage licenses. The Court, in an extraordinary order, gave the Massachusetts legislature 180 days to pass a law favoring of same-sex marriage.

The decision split 4-3, with the swing vote relying on the state Equal Rights Amendment. Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, a native of South Africa, cited a Canadian court in her opinion. One writer for the journal Legal Affairs described Marshall as "an advocate of mining the work of foreign courts,"[1] professor Martha Minow, who has long known Justice Marshall, said that Goodridge "is like a South Africa decision."

See also


  1. Emily Bazelon, "A Bold Stroke," Legal Affairs and Harvard law, May–June 2004.