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The Evolution of Same-Sex Marriage

Family Advocate, Vol. 32, No. 3, p. 8, Winter 2010

Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 10-22

9 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2010  

Charles P. Kindregan, Jr.

Suffolk University Law School

Date Written: April 14, 2010


The Evolution of the Law of Same-Sex Marriage reviews the development of the law governing same-sex spousal relations in the United States. It is the introductory article in the American Bar Association FAMILY ADVOCATE devoted to the legal issues in same-sex marriage and cohabitation, 32 Family Advocate 8 (No. 3, Winter 2010). The article notices the revolutionary but ever-developing change in the legal response to the negative court response to claims for marriage licenses by same-sex couples in the last decades of the 20th Century, to the first tentative positive rulings in Hawaii and Vermont, to the Massachusetts decision in 2003 legalizing same-sex marriage. Since then other jurisdictions have followed the lead of Massachusetts, including Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, the District of Columbia and Iowa. But this trend has also been offset by voter rejections of court or legislative approvals of same-sex marriage in California and Maine. The article also considers federal developments, especially the enactment of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and its negative impact of the parties to state-approved same sex marriages. The author, citing the Canadian experience, predicts that legislation such as the federal or state DOMA laws will in the long-run not permanently bar legal recognition of same-gender couples to enjoy the benefits and protections of civil marriage. The article also notes the gradual disappearance of the procreation argument against same-sex marriage, and attributes it to the general acceptance of assisted reproduction technologies by American law.

Suggested Citation

Kindregan, Jr., Charles P., The Evolution of Same-Sex Marriage (April 14, 2010). Family Advocate, Vol. 32, No. 3, p. 8, Winter 2010; Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 10-22. Available at SSRN:

Charles P. Kindregan, Jr. (Contact Author)

Suffolk University Law School ( email )

120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108-4977
United States

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