Massachusetts high court opened hearings over nonresident gay marriage

The court that made Massachusetts the first state to legalize gay marriage will now decide whether same-sex couples from other states can marry here. The case is being closely watched across the country because if the Supreme Judicial Court strikes down a 1913 law, same-sex couples from across the country could come here to wed and demand marriage rights at home. Eight gay couples from surrounding states, all of whom were denied marriage licenses in Massachusetts, are challenging the law, which forbids nonresidents from marrying here if their union would not be recognized in their home state. Massachusetts last year became the first state to allow same-sex marriage. Forty-one others have passed laws or constitutional amendments banning it. Michele Granda, a gay-rights lawyer for the couples, argued before the high court on Thursday that the 1913 law "sat on the shelf" unused for decades until it was "dusted off" by the governor. Granda said the high court, in its historic ruling legalizing gay marriage, found that under the Massachusetts Constitution, same-sex couples had the same right to marry as heterosexual couples, reports the AP. I.L.

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