Lead plantiffs in Mass. gay marriage case celebrate DOMA ruling

On Wednesday, when the Supreme Court struck down the federal law that barred the recognition of same-sex unions, Julie Goodridge was the first person Hillary Goodridge called.

The two women, now divorced, were the lead plaintiffs in the 2003 Supreme Judicial Court decision that made Massachusetts the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.

“She was the first call I made,” Hillary Goodridge said in a phone interview from her home in Roslindale, “and I burst into tears. It’s very, very moving.”


“She was in tears, and it’s really exciting to be part of this,” said Julie Goodridge, speaking by phone from Provincetown, where she is on vacation. “In some ways, it happened really fast and in other ways we’re looking at the 10 year anniversary of Massachusetts decision. Historically, it feels like an incredibly short period of time. But we’re so used to this in Massachusetts and we’re so used to being seen as equals in terms of marriage rights, it’s almost most hard to believe that there are people like us who just don’t have the same recognition.”

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Neither of them thought, when they first brought the case in Massachusetts in 2003, that it would in some ways lead to such a decision by the Supreme Court.

“My goal was to get married to Hillary,” Julie Goodridge said, “and to protect Annie,” their daughter, who is now 17.

“I thought that in the best situation, our case would, pardon the football analogy, move the ball down the field a couple of yards,” Hillary Goodridge said. “I did not think it would explode it as it did. I don’t know that anybody did.”

Julie Goodridge said that when she first started reading about the idea of same-sex couples marrying, in the late 1990s, she scoffed.


“ Not very long ago, I thought this was a crazy idea,” Hillary Goodridge said. “It’s incredible to me that, in such a short period of time, we now have federal recognition, and to have come so far in less than 10 years is astounding. Now we have 13 states including California, and I bet it will be 50 by the time my daughter is ready to get married.”

Julie Goodridge said her daughter, Annie, had a sophomore-year textbook that discussed the Goodgridge decision.

“In Massachusetts, we should be really, really proud of ourselves,” Julie Goodridge said. “We did it. And this is a huge victory and all of the people who have worked on marriage equality around the country, but especially in Massachusetts, we should be extremely proud, because we have made something very exciting happen today… I did think it would happen but I didn’t know how it would happen or when it would happen.”

Michael Levenson can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @mlevenson.