Friday, July 11, 2008

No Pre-Marriage Benefits for Same-Sex Couples

In Charron v. Amaral, the Supreme Judicial Court yesterday denied a pre-marriage right of consortium to a same-sex couple who would have been married had the law allowed it, and did marry when permitted to do so. This is in keeping with Massachusetts caselaw that draws a clear distinction between married and unmarried couples. The court is unwilling to recognize a "right to recover for loss of consortium by a person who has not accepted the correlative responsibilities of marriage." (Feliciano v. Rosemar Silver Company).

While recognizing that the couple in this case did not have the option of marrying, the court explained that the Goodridge decision did not say that "people in same-sex, committed relationships would be considered married before they obtained a marriage license." Also acknowledging the "discriminatory effects the marriage licensing statute had," the court maintained that to allow recovery in this case "could open numbers of cases in all areas of law to the same argument," which they were unwilling to do.

More information is available at Law About Same-Sex Marriage and Law About Unmarried Couples.