U.S.A.: Massachusetts' high court hears lawsuit over nonresident gay marriages

A lawyer for eight out-of-state gay couples urged Massachusetts' highest court Thursday to throw out a law that prevents them from marrying in the only U.S. state that grants same-sex marriages.

Other states are closely watching the case because if the Supreme Judicial Court strikes down the law, same-sex couples nationwide could come here to wed and demand marriage rights in their home states.

The court heard arguments over the 1913 law, which bars licenses from being issued to couples if the union would not be recognized in their home state.

Plaintiffs' lawyers argued the law is being used to discriminate against gay couples from other states.

Assistant Attorney General Peter Sacks defended the statute, saying it is being enforced in an evenhanded way for heterosexual and same-sex couples.

Sacks also said Massachusetts must respect other states' laws. Many states have passed constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. AM

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