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Constitutional Law

Same-Sex Partner Can’t Sue in Mass. Med-Mal Case

Posted Jul 11, 2008 2:52 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A Massachusetts woman in a same-sex relationship who married her partner as soon as it was possible to do so in the state cannot act as a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case concerning a time before the two were legally wed, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has decided.

Although Cynthia Kalish says she would have married her partner earlier, if the state had allowed same-sex marriages earlier, the court said the requirement of legal marriage is absolute, according to the Boston Globe.

Permitting an unmarried person to act as a plaintiff "would erase the bright line between civil marriage and other forms of relationship that has heretofore been carefully preserved by the Legislature and our prior decisions," writes Chief Justice Margaret Marshall in a concurring opinion.

The court's decision "really demonstrates why marriage equality and the benefits and protections that come with marriage are so necessary for same-sex couples and their families," says attorney Janson Wu of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, which filed an amicus brief in the case.

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