Thursday, 4:30 PM
Judge hears arguments on Rhode island same sex couple bid to marry
By Brian MacQuarrie
A Superior Court judge heard arguments yesterday that a lesbian couple from Providence should be allowed to marry in Massachusetts because Rhode Island law does not explicitly ban same-sex marriage.
"Massachusetts need not and should not search high and low for a barrier to marriage," said attorney Michele Granda, who argued before Judge Thomas Connolly on behalf of Wendy Becker and Mary Norton, who were denied a marriage license in Attleboro.
"The court should look only for an express prohibition in the laws of another state and look no further," said Granda, a lawyer from Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.
The issue was returned to Superior Court after the Supreme Judicial Court ruled in March that a rarely enforced 1913 state law barred gay couples from marrying in Massachusetts if they live in states that specifically ban such unions.
Although the state's high court upheld the law, a majority of the court said the statute was applied too broadly when authorities refused to allow the marriage of three couples from Rhode Island and New York, where same-sex marriage is not expressly prohibited.
Connolly, whose decision is not expected for several weeks, will determine whether those out-of-state couples can be married in Massachusetts.