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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Lawyer in Same Sex Marriage Case Applauds Decision

Aired November 18, 2003 - 12:05   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL COSTELLO, ANCHOR: We want to head live to Boston once again, where GLAAD, a gays rights organization, is holding a press conference now with the seven gay couples who filed suit and filed it all the way to the Massachusetts Supreme Court for the right to be married.
Let's listen in.

MARY BINAUTO, PLAINTIFF'S ATTORNEY: And it's an historic day because finally, all families in the commonwealth of Massachusetts will have the opportunity to be equal families under the law.

We all know that civil marriage is an enormous government construct; it's the most comprehensive protection for families that exists. What comes along with it are hundreds of real bread and butter protections for families and protections in times of tragedy and crisis and emergency.

And now finally, these couples who've been together years, if not decades, will finally have the chance to be treated equally and fairly by their government and have the right to join in civil marriage.

Now just to -- I realize some of you -- I know some of you here because some of you have been very, you know, just wonderful about how you've covered the case. And some of you I don't know. So let me just say really briefly about how this case came to be.

All these folks went to their city and town halls, applied for marriage licenses, were denied. And GLAAD filed suit on their behalf in April of 2001.

A superior court judge rejected our constitutional claims. They were very simple. In fact, the Massachusetts constitution says we're all born free and equal and that there is no good reason for discriminating against these couples by withholding access to civil marriage, and also that the liberty protections of the Massachusetts constitution say that we have -- well, say that we all have liberty protections. And that always meant that you have the right to marry the person of your choice without government interference.

And today's court decision, as you know, was argued on March 4, 2003. Today's court decision essentially said, as to both liberty and equality, there is in fact no rational reason whatsoever for this discrimination against gay and lesbian families in the commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Some court has finally had the courage to say this really is an issue about human equality and human dignity, and it's time that the government treat these people fairly.

Now I know not everyone agrees with this decision. Some of you may not agree with this decision. But what I want to say is that I think with time, people will come to understand that this is a really great ruling, not only for these families, who will finally, you know, be happier and have more protections and have a chance to express their love for one another, but it's also going to be a terrific thing for the community and the state as a whole.

No one gains anything by having these families and these couples struggle and not have protections that everyone else has and have to think about ways to hi-jinx things and cobble together protections, when in the end the simple and equal solution is civil marriage, the exact same thing that everyone else has.

So with that, even though I could say much more about this, with that let me turn it to each of the couples for some brief statements, and then we can talk more in your questions about the ruling and so on and so forth.

I'll start with Hillary and Julie Goodrich.

JULIE GOODRICH, FILED DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT: Thank you. Very much. Mostly thank you to the supreme judicial court of the state of Massachusetts for seeing what we know to be true, which is that we are a couple that is worthy of the protections of marriage and that, after 16 1/2 years, Hillary and I are finally going to be able to get married and protect our family.

HILLARY GOODRICH, FILED DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT: I also want to say thank you to the six other plaintiff couples have ho have been unbelievable. We all didn't know each other when this began. And they have become part of our circle of incredible support.

And to our friends and family and all the strangers who have been supportive of this, this has been an amazing experience. Thank you very much.

COSTELLO: All right. We're going to step away. This is a live press conference out of Boston. You heard from one of the gay couples, one of the seven gay couples who filed suit to get married in Boston.

And as we've been telling you all morning long, the Massachusetts Supreme Court has paved the way for same-sex marriage.

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