Marriage of man to certain relatives
No man shall marry his mother, grandmother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, stepmother, grandfather’s wife, grandson’s wife, wife’s mother, wife’s grandmother, wife’s daughter, wife’s granddaughter, brother’s daughter, sister’s daughter, father’s sister or mother’s sister.
(Massachusetts General Laws Ann. ch. 207 section 1)
Marriage of woman to certain relatives
No woman shall marry her father, grandfather, son, grandson, brother, stepfather, grandmother’s husband, daughter’s husband, granddaughter’s husband, husband’s grandfather, husband’s son, husband’s grandson, brother’s son, sister’s son, father’s brother or mother’s brother.
(Massachusetts General Laws Ann. ch. 207 section 2)
A marriage contracted while either party thereto has a former wife or husband living, except as provided in section six and in chapter two hundred and eight, shall be void.
(Massachusetts General Laws Ann. ch 207 § 4)
Foreign marriages; validity
If any person residing and intending to continue to reside in this commonwealth is disabled or prohibited from contracting marriage under the laws of this commonwealth and goes into another jurisdiction and there contracts a marriage prohibited and declared void by the laws of this commonwealth, such marriage shall be null and void for all purposes in this commonwealth with the same effect as though such prohibited marriage had been entered into in this commonwealth.
(Massachusetts General Laws Ann. ch. 207 section 10)
Flynn v. Johnstone, Case No. 04-3136-A
Lawsuit by two Massachusetts citizens to force town clerks to stop issuing marriage licenses to non-resident same-sex couples, in violation of Massachusetts law. A motion to dismiss and a motion to consolidate with Johnstone and Cote-Whitacre are pending.
Consolidated lawsuits by town clerks and non-resident same-sex couples to invalidate the law prohibiting clerks from issuing marriage licenses to non-residents who may not marry in their home states. The court denied the plaintiffs’ motions for a preliminary injunction on the ground that the law is constitutional.
Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, 440 Mass. 309 (2003)
GLAD (Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders) sought a declaratory judgment that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry under the Massachusetts equal protection and due process clauses. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that excluding same-sex couples from marriage violated the Massachusetts Constitution. The Court redefined what it recognized to be the centuries-old definition of marriage “to mean the voluntary union of two persons as spouses, to the exclusion of all others.” Massachusetts began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on May 17, 2004.
Art. 48 of the Massachusetts Constitution prohibits an initiative amendment that reverses a judicial decision. The question in this case is whether the marriage amendment initiative “reverses” Goodridge, and is thus prohibited by Art. 48.
Direct action in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to compel the Senate President to hold a vote on the Marriage Initiative Amendment in the current General Court (the combined legislative assembly sitting as a constitutional convention). The Amendment was certified to the General Court with a record number of signatures. Art. 48 of the Massachusetts Constitution requires that a joint session of the General Court consider and vote “yea or nay” on each initiative amendment, before the conclusion of the legislative term. The current General Court has voted twice to recess without voting on the Amendment, and public statements of legislators indicate they will let the sole remaining day of the legislative session expire without such a vote. In the alternative, the suit asks the Court to compel the Secretary of the Commonwealth to place the Amendment before the voters despite the General Court’s refusal to vote on it.