Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, new
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Goodridge v. Department of Public Health (2004) 
Facts: Goodridge couple tried to get a marriage license from the MA Dpt. Of Public Heath were denied because they were both women.  They sued, claiming that the exclusion of same sex couples violates the state Constitution.  The state held the following rationales: 1) "favorable setting for procreation," 2) optimal setting for child rearing, and 3) preserve scarce state funds.

Issue: Does the exclusion of same sex couples violate the state constitution? (this is a Due Process case, claiming to use Rational Basis Review, but actually sounds a lot more like strict scrutiny). 
Argument: Marshall

1.      MA law already allows adoption etc. by all combos of genders.  Says that "optimal" is arbitrary.

2.  Closeness of fit is not there between marriage and child bearing:

a.       Ignores that same sex couples have adopted  kids

b.      Funding to married couples is not conditional. 
Concurring: Greany

            This is a sex discrimination case.  MA has a state ERA, in which sex is listed as a suspect class.  Hillary Goodridge's partner must be a man, cannot be Julie Goodridge.


1.      Sosman

a.       If this was tax policy, rational basis would be applied a lot more loosely, so it should be doe the same here.

b.      It's up to the legislatures to decide what gets subsidized.  Legislature could reasonably stick with the old.

2.      Cordy

a.       Doctrinally challenging the privacy and right to marry rationale put forth by Marshall.

                                                                           i.      Marriage is not private, it's about the state giving you status

                                                                         ii.      Right to marry is linked to pro creation.

 Significance: Gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts.  Strict scrutiny is dressed up as Rational Basis.

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