The BBA applauds the Justices of the United States Supreme Court for recently granting certiorari to challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8. Because of our long-standing support of same-sex marriage, the BBA will continue to watch with interest as this issue progresses in Washington.
The BBA’s first supported marriage equality in 2002 with the independent filing of an amicus brief in the landmark Goodridge v. Department of Public Health. In 2004, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued its ruling in the Goodridge case stating that barring a same-sex couple from marriage constituted discrimination against gays and lesbians. Consistent with our position in Goodridge, in 2005 the BBA independently filed another amicus brief in the case Sandra and Roberta Cote-Whitacre et al. v. Department of Public Health et al. The BBA’s brief challenged the Department of Public Health’s enforcement of M.G.L. c. 207, sec. 11-12 to prevent city and town clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples residing in other states.
Most recently in November 2011, the BBA signed onto an amicus brief drafted by the American Civil Liberties Union and Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP concerning two cases – Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, et al. and Nancy Gill et al. v. Office of Personnel Management et al. – that challenge the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA heard before the First Circuit. In May 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit agreed that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional.