Laws

United States of America

MASSACHUSETTS

Limited information only available for these topics

Access to Children
Adoption of Children
Age of Consent
Anti-Vilification
Artifical Insemination
Assisted Reproduction
Bullying
Civil Unions
  Civil Rights, Gay Rights
Custody of Children
Defamation
Discrimination
Estates, Wills
Fostering Children
Gender Identity
  Harassment
Hate Crimes
Health, Medical
HIV/Aids
Homosexuality
Inheritance, Succession
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
Marriage
  Partners
Parenting
Property
Right of Assembly
Sodomy
Taxation
Transgender, Transsexual
Violence

Please read the Disclaimer

Age of Consent Legislation/Cases/References
1.

State

Consensual sex between same-sex couples is lawful at sixteen (16) years [L1.1].


The General Laws of Massachusetts, Title 1. Crimes and Punishments, Chapter 265 Crimes against the person [L1.1]

Chapter 265: Section 23. Rape and abuse of child

[ Text of section effective until October 22, 2008. For text effective October 22, 2008, see below.]

Section 23. Whoever unlawfully has sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse, and abuses a child under sixteen years of age shall, for the first offense, be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life or for any term of years, or, except as otherwise provided, for any term in a jail or house of correction, and for the second or subsequent offense by imprisonment in the state prison for life or for any term of years, but not less than five years; provided, however, that a prosecution commenced under the provisions of this section shall not be placed on file or continued without a finding.

Chapter 265: Section 23. Rape and abuse of child

[ Text of section as amended by 2008, 205, Sec. 2 effective October 22, 2008. For text effective until October 22, 2008, see above.]

Section 23. Whoever unlawfully has sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse, and abuses a child under 16 years of age, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life or for any term of years or, except as otherwise provided, for any term in a jail or house of correction. A prosecution commenced under this section shall neither be continued without a finding nor placed on file.

L1.1 Massachusetts Government: Chapter 265, Section 23 (Accessed 13 JUN 09)
Assisted Reproduction Technology
Artificial Insemination, In Vitro Fertilisation
Surrogacy
Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

On 07 May 2015, the Supreme Judicial Court concluded 7-0 that State law did not require the lawful (same-sex) parents of a child to give notice of the petition for adoption to a known sperm donor and remanded the case to the Probate and Family Court for further proceedings consistent with the opinion [C1.4], [R1.3].

On 02 February 2012, the Appeals Court held that same-sex married couples who have a baby by artificial insemination are bound by the same custody laws as heterosexual couples [C1.2], [R1.1].

C1.4 Opinion: Adoption of a Minor No. SJC-11797 PDF 07 MAY 15
R1.3 BostonHerald: Supreme Judicial Court: Sperm donors do not have to give permission for gay adoptions 07 MAY 15
C1.2 Opinion: Gabriella Della Corte v. Angelica Ramirez No. 11-P-451 Word 35kb, 02 FEB 12
R1.1 Boston.com: Custody law covers children of both same-sex and heterosexual marriages conceived by artificial insemination 02 FEB 12
Censorship, Free Speech, Right of Assembly Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

On 19 June 1957, US Supreme Court ruled that private organizations, even if they were planning on and had permits for a public demonstration, were permitted to exclude groups if those groups presented a message contrary to the one the organizing group wanted to convey. The Court found in particular that private citizens organizing a public demonstration may not be compelled by the state to include groups who impart a message the organizers do not want to be included in their demonstration, even if such a law had been written with the intent of preventing discrimination [C1.1].

C1.1 Opinion of the Court: Hurley et al v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston et al 515 US 557, 19 JUN 95
Children: Access, Custody, Visitation Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

On 02 February 2012, the Appeals Court held that same-sex married couples who have a baby by artificial insemination are bound by the same custody laws as heterosexual couples [C1.4], [R1.3].

In November 1999, the US Supreme Court refused to review a decision by the state's highest court that granted visitation rights to the former partner of a lesbian mother [R1.2].

Previously:

In June 1999, the Massachusetts High Court court gave visitation rights to a lesbian's former partner, ruling that a lesbian who helped her partner raise her son was a "de facto" parent of the child and had a right to visit the child after the couple had broken up. [R1.1].

C1.4 Opinion: Gabriella Della Corte v. Angelica Ramirez No. 11-P-451 Word 35kb, 02 FEB 12
R1.3 Boston.com: Custody law covers children of both same-sex and heterosexual marriages conceived by artificial insemination 02 FEB 12
R1.2 Boston Globe: Ruling Stands on Lesbian Parental Visitations 16 NOV 99
R1.1 Newsday / AP: Gay Parent Visitation Rights Upheld 30 JUN 99
Civil Rights, Gay Righjts, Human Rights Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

On 14 August 2013, in perhaps a precedent setting judgment US District Judge Michael Ponsor in Springfield, Massachusetts ruled a persecution of LGBT people is a crime against humanity, finding extremist anti-gay US pastor Scott Lively had a case to answer [C1.2], [R1.1].

C1.2 Memorandum and Order: Sexual Minorities Uganda v. Scott Lively No. 12-cv-30051-MAP PDF 121.46kb, 14 AUG 13
R1.1 GayStarNews: Historic ruling: Judge orders anti-gay Scott Lively to stand trial for crimes against humanity 15 AUG 13
Civil Unions, Partners Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [INHERITANCE] [MARRIAGE] [PROPERTY]
1.

State

In January 2003, prior to the Massachusetts Judicial Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, several lawmakers had proposed bills, similar to a law passed in Vermont in 2000, that would have granted gay and lesbian couples virtually all the rights and responsibilities of marriage that are granted by state law [R1.4].

The domestic partner bill won approval in the state Senate at least three times, but never come up for a vote in the House [R1.4].


In September 2001, for the third year in a row, the state Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill to extend benefits, including health insurance, dental insurance and vision coverage, to gay partners of state employees [R1.3].


In August 2001, acting Governor Jane M. Swift extended some domestic partnership benefits to gays and lesbians among the state's 70,000 employees. The benefits, now available to a small number of gays in senior management, would include paid leave for workers to care for a same-sex partner who is ill, and bereavement leave for employees if a partner dies [R1.2].

Gay state employees would also be given paid time for court appearances or counseling if they are victims of domestic violence by a same-sex partner.


A 1992 executive order made by Governor William Weld, offered bereavement and sick leave to gay and lesbian managers in state employment [R1.2].


IMPORTANT

For same-sex couples who married in Massachusetts, careful planning will be required with regard to their financial and legal affairs [R1.1].

2.

Cities & Towns

In May 2004, Springfield gave notice that it would no longer offer health benefits to unmarried domestic partners of city employees now that same-sex couples are legally allowed to marry in Massachusetts. Unmarried domestic partners have a 90-day period to become legally married and retain insurance coverage [R2.2].

As at October 2002, Boston, Brewster, Brookline, Cambridge, Nantucket and Provincetown have Domestic Partner Registries [R2.1].

3.

Courts & Tribunals

In July 2008, Massachusetts's highest court ruled that same-sex marriage benefits cannot be collected retroactively [R3.2].


In July 2002, Middlesex family court judge Spencer M. Kagan ruled that a lesbian must pay child support to her former partner, even though she was neither related to nor the adoptive parent of the child, on the grounds that she was a de facto parent of the child and that if she was to receive visitation rights, she must also be responsible for some of the financial burdens of raising the child [R3.1].

R1.4 Associated Press: Lawmakers Propose State's First-ever civil Union Bill 03 JAN 03
R1.3 Boston Globe: Senate Backs Benefits for Gay Partners 26 SEP 01
R1.2 Boston Globe: Swift to Extend Same-Sex Benefits 16 AUG 01
R1.1 Cape Cod Times: For Same-sex Spouses, Finances Only Get More Complicated 18 MAY 04
R2.2 Associated Press: Town Rescinds Partner Benefits 29 MAY 04
R2.1 Providence Journal: Vermont's Civil Unions 13 OCT 02
R3.2 The Advocate: Massachusetts Court: Pre-Marriage Benefits Can't Be Collected 12-14 JUL 08
R3.1 The Advocate: Lesbian Must Pay Ex-partner Child Support 19 JUL 02
Defamation, Libel, Slander Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

In 2004, U.S. district judge Nancy Gertner in Boston ruled that stating that someone is gay does not libel or slander them, particularly in light of new court decisions granting gays more rights [R1.1].

R1.1 The Advocate: Judge: Madonna's former boyfriend not libeled by gay implication 02 JUN 04
Discrimination Legislation/Cases/References
1.

State

On 23 November 2011, Governor Deval Patrick signed Transgender Equal Rights Bill into law adding "gender identity" to the state's anti-discrimination laws with respect to employment, housing, education and credit, effective 01 July 2012 [R1.3].

In July 2008, the Massachusetts house of representatives gave its initial approval to a bill that would require all future legislation be written in language that is gender-neutral [R1.2].

In 1990, Massachusetts state law introduced a prohibition against discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation [R1.1].

2.

Cities & Towns

On 21 August 2014, the Worcester City Council was reported to have voted unanimously in favor of an amendment to the city's Revised Ordinances of 2008 enacting nondiscrimination protections based on gender identity or expression (effective 27 August 2014) [R2.2].

In May 2010, the St. Paul Elementary School in Hingham rescinded its admission offer to an 8-year-old boy who has lesbian parents [R2.1].

3.

Courts & Tribunals

On 02 December 2016, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reached a tentative agreement yet to be approved by the Court to settle a class-action complaint (Cote v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc 1:15-cv-12945) that accused the retailer of discriminating against gay employees and their spouses by denying them health benefits [C3.11], [R3.10].

On 16 December 2015, Associate Justice Douglas H Wilkins in the Superior Court found that Fontbonne Academy discriminated against Matthew Barrett based on sexual orientation and gender. After Barrett accepted the position of Food Service Director he filled out a 'new employee' form, listing his husband as his emergency contact and Fontbonne then rescinded the offer of employment as he was in a same-sex marriage [C3.9], [R3.8].

On 29 January 2015, Kenneth An in the US Equal Opportunity Commission issued a determination finding that Wal-mart Stores discriminated against Jacqueline A Cote in her employment because of her sex by denying her the option of obtaining health insurance benefits for her spouse Diana Smithson, whom she married in Massachusetts in May 2004 [C3.7], [R3.6].

On 02 January 2015, Hearing Officer Betty E Waxman in the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination ruled in favor of transgendered woman Jackie Ravesi who claimed she was fired from her position as a fitness instructor at the NAZ Fitness Group five years ago because of her gender status and ordered NAZ to back pay losses of $154,850 on top of $25,000 in emotional distress damages [C3.5], [R 3.4].

In 2001, for the first time, the state's anti-discrimination and disability laws have been interpreted by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination to grant protections to transsexuals [R3.3].


In 1999, Middlesex Superior Court Judge Wendie Gershengorn issued an order forbidding the state police from forcing a gay man to leave a public rest area along Route 6, as long as he isn't breaking the law [R3.2].


In 1997, a man has been awarded US$1.2 million after he was wrongly fired by a Catholic hospital in 1991 because managers believed he was gay [R3.1].

R1.3 Lesbian / Gay Law Notes: Legislative Notes: Massachussets PDF 423.20kb, 02 DEC 11 at 256
R1.2 The Advocate: Massachusetts House Initially Approves Gender-Neutral Law 25 JUL 08
R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87kb, MAY 08
R2.2 EdgeOnTheNet: MATERC Applauds Worcester's Nondiscrimination Protections 21 AUG 14
R2.1 The Advocate: Massachusetts School Says No to Lesbians' Son 13 MAY 10
3. Courts & Tribunals
C3.11 Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement: Cote v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc 1:15-cv-12945-WGY PDF 490.08kb 02 DEC 16
R3.10 TheWallStreetJournal: Wal-Mart Reaches $7.5 Million Settlement in Same-Sex Spouse Benefits Complaint 02 DEC 16
C3.9 Memorandum of Decision: Matthew Barrett v. Fontbonne Academy NOCV2014-751 PDF 652.15kb, 16 DEC 15
R3.8 FoxNews: Massachusetts Catholic school broke law by withdrawing job offer to gay man, judge rules 17 DEC 15
C3.7 Final Determination: Jacqueline A Cote v. Wal-mart Stores East No. 523-2014-00916 PDF 104.81kb, 29 JAN 15
R3.6 LGBTQnation 18 February 2015 | Amy Anthony. Associated Press EEOC ruling: Walmart discriminated against lesbian employee 18 FEB 15
C3.5 Order: MCAD and Jackie Ravesi v. NAZ Fitness Group No. 10-BEM-03164 PDF 187.47kb, 02 JAN 15
R3.4 WickedLocalFramingham: State sides with transgendered woman's dismissal claim in Framingham 13 FEB 15
R3.3 Associated Press: Ruling Allows Transsexuals to Sue Under Disability, Discrimination Laws 16 OCT 01
R3.2 Associated Press: Police Can't Order Gay Man to Leave Rest Area 29 OCT 99
R3.1 Melbourne Star Observer: $1.2M Payout for Sacking 10 JAN 97
See also: MCAD: Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
Gender Identity, Intersex,
Transgender, Transexual

[?]
Legislation/Cases/References
1.

State

On 08 July 2016, Governor Charlie Baker signed House Bill 735 into law. The Bill extends the existing law to prohibiting discrimination in the provision of public accommodations. The law comes into effect on 01 October 2016 [R1.5].

On 01 June 2016, the State House of Representatives approved 116-36 House Bill 735 that would ban discrimination based on gender identity in public accommodations, expanding the 2011 law that prohibits anti-transgender discrimination in employment and housing. The Senate approved an identical bill in May and Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has indicated that he will sign the bill into law [R1.4].

On 23 November 2011, Governor Deval Patrick signed the Transgender Equal Rights Bill (HB 03810) into law adding "gender identity" to the state's anti-discrimination laws with respect to employment, housing, education and credit, and hate crime effective 01 July 2012 [R1.3].

On 15 November 2011, the Transgender Equal Rights Bill (House Bill 502) passed the House 95–58 and on 16 November 2011, the Bill (Senate Bill Number 764) passed the Senate. Gov. Deval Patrick renewed his pledge to sign the Bill and upon becoming law, the legislation will provide essential protections for the transgender community in employment, education, and in situations where people face hate-based violence, but not "public accommodations" [R1.2].

On 17 February 2011, Governor Deval Patrick signed an executive order banning work-based discrimination against transgender state government employees and contractors [R1.1].

2.

City

On 21 August 2014, the Worcester City Council was reported to have voted unanimously in favor of an amendment to the city's Revised Ordinances of 2008 enacting nondiscrimination protections based on gender identity or expression (effective 27 August 2014) [R2.4].

In November 2002, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino signed the gender-identity non-discrimination ordinance [R2.3].

In October 2002, Boston City Council approved a measure to expand city antidiscrimination laws covering race, religion, sex, and sexual preference to include "gender identity or expression [R2.2] in employment, housing, public accommodations, and education [L2.1].

3.

Courts & Tribunals

On 04 May 2015, the US Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of transgender inmate Michelle Kosilek against the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruling denying her taxpayer-funded sex reassignment surgery [C3.24], [R3.23].

On 16 March 2015, an appeal was filed in the US Supreme Court on behalf of transgender inmate Michelle Kosilek seeking a review of the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruling against providing her with taxpayer-funded sex-reassignment surgery [C3.22], [R3.21].

On 16 December 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit overturned 3-2 a ruling ordering Massachusetts prison officials to provide taxpayer-funded sex-reassignment surgery for Michelle Kosilek, an inmate convicted of murder, finding that Kosilek failed to demonstrate that prison officials violated the Eight Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment by not providing the surgery [C3.20], [R3.19].

On 08 May 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit is scheduled to hear arguments from prison officials in an appeal against a ruling that inmate Michelle Lynne Kosilek must be given gender reassignment surgery [C3.18], [R3.17].

On 31 January 2014, the Department of Correction indicated that an appeal would be filed in the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals against the District Court decision granting a taxpayer-funded sex change operation for Michelle Kosilek [R3.16].

On 17 January 2014, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals upheld 2-1 the District Court ruling granting a taxpayer-funded sex change operation for Michelle Kosilek, a Massachusetts transgender inmate serving a life sentence for murder [C3.15], [R3.14].

On 19 December 2012, US District Court Chief Judge Mark L Wolf in a tentative ruling in the Michelle Lynne Kosilek case, approved legal fees totalling $724,000 (£446,000), reduced from $739,000 (£456,000) and excluding request for personal costs [R3.13].

On 20 November 2012, US District Court Chief Judge Mark L Wolf reportedly stayed his September order that Michelle Lynne Kosilek be provided with sex change surgery, pending a Department of Corrections appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit against his order [R3.12].

On 16 September 2012, US District Court Chief Judge Mark L Wolf issued a memorandum and order that Michelle Lynne Kosilek is entitled to be reimbursed by the state for years of legal bills [C3.11], [R3.10]. The Department of Correction is expected to appeal the decision [R3.9].

On 04 September 2012, US District Court Judge M Wolf found in favor of Michelle Kosilek, who sued the Massachusetts Department of Correction 12 years ago to force it to provide him the sex-change surgery while imprisoned, ruling that the state had violated the inmate's constitutional rights in denying the procedure and ordered the State "take forthwith all of the actions reasonably necessary to provide Kosilek sex reassignment surgery as promptly as possible" [C3.8], [R3.7].

On 20 May 2011, a three-judge panel of the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal district court decision ordering Massachusetts officials to provide hormone therapy and gender-appropriate clothing for a civil detainee at the state's Treatment Center for Sexually Dangerous Persons [R3.6].


In November 2009, US District Judge Mark Wolf denied the request by jailed trans woman Michelle Kosilek for hair removal therapy [R3.5]. See also [R3.3].


In October 2002, according to a landmark ruling of Superior Court Justice Linda E. Giles, a transgender woman who claimed she was fired for not dressing like a man can argue that her former employer's actions constitute unlawful sex and disability discrimination [R3.4].


In August 2002, a federal judge ruled that an inmate who claimed he is a woman trapped in a man's body should receive treatment for gender identity disorder but cannot force the state to pay for a sex-change operation [R3.3].


In October 2001, for the first time, the state's anti-discrimination and disability laws have been interpreted by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination to grant protections to transsexuals [R3.2].


In October 2000, Judge Linda Giles ordered South Junior High School in Brockton to allow the student, identified in court records as "Pat Doe", to wear any clothing or accessories that any other male or female student would be permitted to wear [R3.1].

R1.5 GayStarNews: Republican governor signs Massachusetts trans rights bill into law 08 JUL 16
R1.4 WashingtonBlade: Massachusetts House approves transgender rights bill 01 JUN 16
R1.3 Lesbian / Gay Law Notes: Legislative Notes: Massachussets PDF 423.20kb, 02 DEC 11 at 256
R1.2 The Advocate: Victory in Massachusetts: Trans Rights Bill on Way to Governor 16 NOV 11
R1.1 The Advocate: Massachusetts Governor Orders Protection for Trans Workers 17 FEB 11
R2.4 EdgeOnTheNet: MATERC Applauds Worcester's Nondiscrimination Protections 21 AUG 14
R2.3 365Gay.com: Boston Latest To Pass TG Equal Rights Law 09 NOV 02
R2.2 Boston Globe: Council OK's Transgender Bill 24 OCT 02
L2.1 American Legal Publishing : § 12–9 Human Rights, Chapter XII Public Health and Welfare (Accessed 13 JUN 09)
MTPC: An Ordinance Regarding Discrimination Based on Gender Identity or Expression PDF 46.38kb, 01 NOV 02
C3.24 Order List: 575 U.S.: Orders in Pending Cases PDF106.58kb, 04 MAY 15 (Accessed 05 MAY 15)
R3.23 EqualityOnTrial 04 May 2015 | Scotty Thomaston Supreme Court declines to hear two LGBT rights cases 04 MAY 15
C3.22 Petition for Writ of Certiorari: Michelle Kosilek v. Carol Higgins O'Brien No. PDF 408.09kb, 16 MAR 15
R3.21 Jurist: Transgender inmate petitions Supreme Court for sex reassignment surgery 17 MAR 15
C3.20 Opinion En Banc: Michelle Kosilek v. Luis S Spencer No. 12-2194 PDF 194.08kb, 16 DEC 14
R3.19 EdgeOnTheNet: Appeals Court Overturns Sex-Change for Inmate 16 DEC 14
C3.18 Michelle Lynne Kosilek v. Luis S Spencer No. 12-1294
R3.17 PinkNews: US: Appeals court to hear appeal against gender reassignment for trans inmate 05 MAY 14
R3.16 EdgeOnTheNet: Massachusetts Prison Officials Appeal Sex-Change Ruling 31 JAN 14
C3.15 Opinion: Michelle Kosilek v. Luis S Spencer No. 12-2194 PDF 192.79kb, 17 JAN 14
R3.14 EdgeOnTheNet: Appeals Court Upholds Sex Change for Massachusetts Inmate 17 JAN 14
R3.13 PinkNews: Judge approves legal fees for trans woman prisoner, denies personal costs 20 DEC 12
R3.12 PinkNews: Judge suspends gender reassignment order for trans woman prisoner 20 NOV 12
C3.11 Memorandum and Order: Michelle L Kosilek v. Luis S Spencer No. 00-12455-MLW PDF 26.36kb, 16 SEP 12
R3.10 Boston Herald: Judge: Transsexual inmate should recoup legal fees 17 SEP 12
R3.9 PinkNews: State to appeal against gender reassignment ruling for trans prisoner 26 SEP 12
C3.8 US District Court: Michelle L Kosilek v. Luis S Spencer C.A. No. 00-12455-MLW PDF 237.51kb, 04 SEP 12
R3.7 Reuters US: Federal judge orders Massachusetts to pay for killer's sex change 05 SEP 12
R3.6 Gay City News: Hormone Treatment Ordered for Trans Detainee 08 JUN 11
R3.5 The Advocate: Judge bars trans prisoner from hair removal 25 NOV 09
R3.4 GenderPac State News: MA Judge Finds Sex, Disability Discrimination 15 NOV 02
R3.3 Associated Press: Judge Rejects Inmate's Bid to Require State to Pay for Sex-change 29 AUG 02
R3.2 Associated Press: Ruling Allows Transsexuals to Sue Under Disability, Discrimination Laws 16 OCT 01
R3.1 Boston Herald: Judge Says Transgender Student Can Wear Girls' Clothes to School 12 OCT 00
See also: Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC)
Hate Crimes Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [VIOLENCE]
1.

State

On 23 November 2011, Governor Deval Patrick signed the Transgender Equal Rights Bill (HB 03810) into law adding "gender identity" to hate crimes law, effective 01 July 2012 [L1.4], [R1.3]

In 1996, hate crimes based on sexual orientation became considered an aggravating circumstance [R1.2].


The General Laws of Massachusetts Part IV Crimes, Punishments and Proceedings. Title 1. Crimes and Punishments, Chapter 265 Crimes against the person [L1.1]

Section 39. Assault or battery for purpose of intimidation; weapons; punishment

Section 39. (a) Whoever commits an assault or a battery upon a person or damages the real or personal property of a person with the intent to intimidate such person because of such personís race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability shall be punished by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars or by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than two and one-half years, or by both such fine and imprisonment. […]

(b) Whoever commits a battery in violation of this section and which results in bodily injury shall be punished by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars or by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Whoever commits any offense described in this subsection while armed with a firearm, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or assault weapon shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than ten years or in the house of correction for not more than two and one-half years. For purposes of this section, "bodily injury" shall mean substantial impairment of the physical condition, including, but not limited to, any burn, fracture of any bone, subdural hematoma, injury to any internal organ, or any injury which occurs as the result of repeated harm to any bodily function or organ, including human skin. […]

L1.4 Massachusetts Legislature: Chapter 199. An Act Relative to Gender Identity (Accessed 21 JAN 12)
R1.3 Lesbian / Gay Law Notes: Legislative Notes: Massachussets PDF 423.20kb, 02 DEC 11 at 256
R1.2 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87kb, MAY 08
L1.1 General Laws of Massachusetts: Chapter 265: Section 39 (Accessed 13 JUN 09)
Health, Medical Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [GENDER IDENTITY]
1.

State

On 20 June 2014, Governor Deval Patrick signed off on a new policy that would provide insurance coverage to transgender residents to undergo gender reassignment surgery and hormone therapy as a standard benefit in its government health plan for lower-income and disabled people [R1.1].

2.

Cities & Towns

On 11 June 2014, the Boston City Council unanimously votes to pass an ordinance ensuring that the City does not contract with any health insurance provider that does not provide comprehensive coverage for gender therapy services, including mental health care, hormone therapy, and other transition-related care for transgender City employees [R2.1].

3.

Courts & Tribunals

On 16 May 2017, US District Court Judge William G Young issued a final order approving a $7.5 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit against Walmart that found the retail giant violated gender-discrimination laws for years when it denied spousal benefits to same-sex spouses [C3.7], [C3.6], [R3.5].

On 02 December 2016, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reached a tentative agreement yet to be approved by the Court to settle a class-action complaint (Cote v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc 1:15-cv-12945) that accused the retailer of discriminating against gay employees and their spouses by denying them health benefits [C3.4], [R3.3].

On 29 January 2015, Kenneth An in the US Equal Opportunity Commission issued a determination finding that Wal-mart Stores discriminated against Jacqueline A Cote in her employment because of her sex by denying her the option of obtaining health insurance benefits for her spouse Diana Smithson, whom she married in Massachusetts in May 2004 [C3.2], [R3.1].

R1.1 LGBTQ Nation: Massachusetts to boost transgender health care coverage 20 JUN 14
R2.1 EdgeOnTheNet: Boston City Council Votes Unanimously in Support of Gender Therapy Access Ordinance for Transgender Municipal Workers 11 JUN 14
2. Courts & Tribunals
C3.7 Final Order: Jacqueline Cote v Wal-mart Stores, Inc No. 15 Civ. 12945 (WGY) PDF 348.47 16 MAY 17
C3.6 Memorandum: Jacqueline Cote v Wal-mart Stores, Inc No. 15 Civ. 12945 (WGY) PDF 97.38 27 APR 17
R3.5 BostonGlobe: Walmart settles for $7.5m after denying spousal benefits to gay couples 15 MAY 17
C3.4 Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement: Cote v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc 1:15-cv-12945-WGY PDF 490.08kb 02 DEC 16
R3.3 TheWallStreetJournal: Wal-Mart Reaches $7.5 Million Settlement in Same-Sex Spouse Benefits Complaint 02 DEC 16
C3.2 Final Determination: Jacqueline A Cote v. Wal-mart Stores East No. 523-2014-00916 PDF 104.81kb, 29 JAN 15
R3.1 LGBTQnation 18 February 2015 | Amy Anthony. Associated Press EEOC ruling: Walmart discriminated against lesbian employee 18 FEB 15
HIV Aids Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

In April 2011, the Commission Against Discrimination ordered a Boston-area landlord to pay $25,000 for trying to force an HIV+ tenant to move or get rid of his emotional support dog [R1.2].

On 14 November 2001, a state board ruled that an HIV-positive man with end-stage liver disease should be covered by Medicaid for a potentially life-saving liver transplant [R1.1].

The Division of Medical Assistance Board of Appeals said the procedure was "medically necessary'' and not experimental.

R1.2 The Advocate: Landlord Can't Boot HIV+ Man's Dog 05 APR 11
R1.1 Associated Press: Board Sides With HIV Patient 14 NOV 01
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
1.

State

The General Laws of Massachusetts, Title 1 Crimes and Punishments, Chapter 272. Crimes Against Chastity, Morality, Decency and Good Order [L1.1]

Section 34. Crime against nature

Section 34. Whoever commits the abominable and detestable crime against nature, either with mankind or with a beast, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than twenty years.

See. 2. Courts & Tribunals below.

2.

Courts & Tribunals

In June 2003, the US Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas that the Texas Penal Code, Section 21.06 was unconstitutional , Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U. S. 558 (2003) [C2.2].

The ruling is thought to nullify or invalidate the Massachusetts law.

In 2002, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the state's sodomy laws do not apply to private consensual acts [R2.1].

L1.1 Massachusetts Government: Section 272-34 (Accessed 13 JUN 09)
C2.2 US Supreme Court: Lawrence et al v. Texas 539 U. S. 558 (2003) PDF 196.55kb, 26 JUN 03
R2.1 Gay.com: Sodomy Laws Do Not Cover Private Acts 22 FEB 02
Marriage Legislation/Cases/References
1.

State

On 18 November 2003, marriage became open for same-sex couples [C2.5].

On 31 July 2008, the Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill repealing the 1913 law that prohibits non-residents from marrying in Massachusetts allowing gay and lesbian couples from other states to marry in Massachusetts [R1.10].

The Bill may be challenged in a referendum in 2010 [R1.9].

Massachusetts law has no residence requirement to marry, but requires couples seeking to divorce to have lived there for a year [R1.8].

Previously:

On 15 July 2008, the Senate voted to repeal a 1913 law used to bar out-of-state gay couples from marrying in the state, a law that critics say was originally aimed at interracial marriages [R1.7].

Earlier in July 2008, it was reported that the 1913 law preventing out-of-state gay and lesbian couples from tying the knot in Massachusetts may be repealed [R1.6].

In May 2004, the Democrat-controlled state Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to repeal the 1913 law that Republican Gov. Mitt Romney is using to bar out-of-state gay couples from marrying in Massachusetts [R1.5].

Marriage between same-sex couples became legal beginning 17 May 2004 however, relying on a 1913 state law, Governor Mitt Romney has said that the state will prohibit gay couples who live outside of Massachusetts from marrying there [R1.4]. However, no documentary proof will be required and clerks may rely on the oath of the couples that there is no impediment to their marriage [R1.3].

In December 2003, the Massachusetts Senate voted to ask the state's highest court if Vermont-style civil unions would satisfy the court's recent decision legalizing gay marriage [R1.2].

In January 2003, a proposed constitutional amendment that would outlaw gay marriage in Massachusetts failed to reach a vote. In order to qualify for the ballot in November 2004, the voter-initiated measure would have to be approved by 25% of the 200 state lawmakers by December 31 this year and again during the 2003-2004 legislative session [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 16 May 2017, US District Court Judge William G Young issued a final order approving a $7.5 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit against Walmart that found the retail giant violated gender-discrimination laws for years when it denied spousal benefits to same-sex spouses [C2.27], [C2.26], [R2.25].

On 26 July 2012, Justice Roderick Ireland for the Supreme Judicial Court in a unanimous ruling found a civil union in Vermont is no less than a marriage in Massachusetts [C2.24], [R2.23].

On 29 June 2012, Republicans were reported to be seeking leave to appeal a federal court decision that found in May that DOMA is unconstitutional in the combined cases of Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Massachusetts v. United States [R2.22].

On 31 May 2012, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, Hara v. OPM, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it denies equal rights for legally married same-sex couples [C2.21], [R2.20].

On 04 April 2012, a three-judge panel in Boston began hearing oral arguments in the first challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to reach a federal appeals court. The three consolidated cases are Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, Hara v. OPM, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [R2.19].

On 24 February 2011, Assistant attorney general Tony West notified the clerk of the First Circuit that the department will no longer defend Section 3 of DOMA in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Massachusetts v. Health and Human Services [R2.18].

On 13 January 2011, the Department of Justice filed its defense of the Defense of Marriage Act in the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in a single filing for both Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Massachusetts v. United States [C2.17], [R2.16].

On 12 October 2010, the Department of Justice filed a one–page "notice of appeal" in the case of Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, a challenge to Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) [R2.15].

On 18 August 2010, District Court Judge Joseph L Tauro issued an amended judgment to stay his ruling in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management for 60 days to allow the government time for an appeal [R2.14].

On 08 July 2010, federal Judge Joseph Tauro ruled, in Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Health and Human Services and Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, that a critical part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, violating the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in one case and equal protection principles embodied in the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment in the other [R2.13].

On 06 May 2010, the Federal District Court in Boston heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), in the case of Gill et a.l v. Office of Personnel Management et al., brought by GLAD in March 2009 [R2.12].

On 18 February 2010, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said a federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman interferes with the state's right to regulate the institution, seeking a declaration that the law unconstitutional without holding a trial on the lawsuit [R2.11].

In July 2009, Massachusetts attorney general Martha Coakley filed suit against the federal government alleging that the Defence of Marriage Act interferes with Massachusetts's ability to define and regulate marriage [R2.10].


On 30 March 2006, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that same-sex couples who live in states with explicit bans on same-sex marriage cannot come to the Bay State and ask for a marriage license. However, couples who come from states that are ambiguous on the matter may still have a claim to those licenses [R2.9].


In May 2004, the US Supreme Court refused to block the controversial initiative permitting the United States' first legal gay marriages [R2.8].


On 04 February 2004, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court found that only full, equal marriage rights for gay couples - rather than civil unions - would be constitutional, erasing any doubts that the nation's first same-sex marriages could take place in the state beginning in mid-May [C2.7], [R2.6].


On 18 November 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled 4–3 that the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. It gave lawmakers 180 days to come up with a solution that would allow gay couples to wed [C2.5], [R2.4].


On 30 December 2002, Massachusetts's highest court upheld a ruling dismissing a lawsuit against outgoing state senate president Thomas Birmingham over a proposed constitutional amendment that would outlaw gay marriage in Massachusetts [R2.3].


In May 2002, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Thomas Connolly ruled against granting marriage licenses to the seven gay couples, saying the legality of same-sex marriage should be decided by the Legislature, not the courts [R2.2].

Lawyers at Gay & Lesbians Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), the group representing the couples, then lodged an appeal in the state Appeals Court seeking overturn the decision [R2.1].


On 11 April 2001, seven same-sex couples filed suit seeking the right to marry [C2.5].

3.

Religious Groups

On 29 November 2009, Bishop M. Thomas Shaw III, the Episcopal bishop of eastern Massachusetts, gave permission for priests in the region to officiate at same-sex weddings [R3.2].

In January 2004, the Jewish Community Relations Council, a group made up of liberal Jews from the Reform movement and 42 different Jewish organisations in the Boston area, voted overwhelmingly to support gay marriage [R3.1].

State
R1.10 PinkNews.co.uk: Governor Signs Law Allowing Out of State Gays to Marry In Massachusetts 01 AUG 08
R1.9 The Advocate: Massachusetts Voters May Decide Out-of-State Marriage Ban 27 AUG 08
R1.8 Boston Herald: Pennsylvania judge refuses to grant same-sex divorce after Massachusetts marriage 26 MAR 10
R1.7 The Advocate: Massachusetts Senate Votes to Let Out-of-State Gays Marry 16 JUL 08
R1.6 The Advocate: Law Barring Nonresident Gays From Marrying in Massachusetts May Be Repealed 12-14 JUL 08
R1.5 Associated Press: Massachusetts Senate Votes to Repeal Marriage Law 19 MAY 04
R1.4 Boston Globe: Gay Outsiders Can't Marry in Massachusetts 25 APR 04
Boston Globe: After May 17, Marriage Is No Cake Walk, Gays Are Told 25 APR 04
R1.3 The Advocate: Documentary Proof of Residency No Longer Required for Gay Couples 06 MAY 04
R1.2 Associated Press: Massachusetts Senate Seeks Civil Union Opinion 11 DEC 03
R1.1 The Advocate: Anti-Gay Marriage Proposal Dead in Massachusetts 01-02 JAN 03
Courts & Tribunals
C2.27 Final Order: Jacqueline Cote v Wal-mart Stores, Inc No. 15 Civ. 12945 (WGY) PDF 348.47 16 MAY 17
C2.26 Memorandum: Jacqueline Cote v Wal-mart Stores, Inc No. 15 Civ. 12945 (WGY) PDF 97.38 27 APR 17
R2.25 BostonGlobe: Walmart settles for $7.5m after denying spousal benefits to gay couples 15 MAY 17
C2.24 Opinion: Todd J. Elis-Warnken v. Richard A. Elia SJC-11023 PDF 23.52kb, 26 JUL 12
R2.23 The Advocate: A Civil Union in Vermont Is the Same as a Marriage in Massachusetts 26 JUL 12
R2.22 The Advocate: Republicans Appeal DOMA Case to Supreme Court 29 JUN 12
C2.21 Opinion: Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. US Department of Health and Human Services et al No. 120-2204 PDF 70.03kb, 31 MAY 12
R2.20 The Washington Post: Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, federal appeals court declares 01 JUN 12
R2.19 PinkNews: Boston Court hears anti-DOMA appeal US (MA) 04 APR
R2.18 The Advocate: Government Drops Two More DOMA Cases 25 FEB 11
C2.17 Case: 10-2207 Document: 00116158289 PDF 955.76kb, 13 JAN 11
R2.16 MetroWeekly: DOJ Files DOMA Defense in First Circuit Cases 13 JAN 11
R2.15 The Advocate: DOJ Files Appeal in DOMA Case 12 OCT 10
R2.14 The Advocate: Government Allowed to Appeal DOMA Case 19 AUG 10
R2.13 365Gay.com: Fed judge rules against DOMA – twice 08 JUL 10
R2.12 GLAD: GLAD's DOMA Challenge Heads to Court May 6 08 APR 10
R2.11 CBS News: Massachusetts Says Federal Marriage Law Unconstitutional 19 FEB 10
R2.10 The Advocate: Massachusetts Files Suit Against DOMA 08 JUL 09
R2.9 The Advocate: Massachusetts High Court Limits Same-sex Marriage for Out-of-state Couples 31 MAR 06
The Advocate: Massachusetts Court Decision Leaves Nonresident Couples in Limbo 01 APR 06
The Advocate: Massachusetts High Court to Review Law That Bars Nonresident Couples from Marriage 08 OCT 05
R2.8 ABC News Online: US Supreme Court Refuses to Block Gay Marriage Law 17 MAY 04
C2.7 Massachusetts Government: Opinion of the Justices to the Senate SJC-09163 PDF 64.17kb, 03 FEB 04
R2.6 Associated Press: Same Sex Marriages Win Major Victory In Massachusetts 04 FEB 04
C2.5 Hillary Goodridge & Others vs Department of Public Health & Anor 440 Mass. 309, PDF 252.59kb, 18 NOV 03
R2.4 The Age: US Court Paves Way for Gay and Lesbian Marriages 20 NOV 03
R2.3 The Advocate: Anti-Gay Marriage Proposal Dead in Massachusetts 01-02 JAN 03
R2.2 Associated Press: Judge Denies Marriage Licenses to Gay Couples 08 May 02
R2.1 Boston Globe: Appeal Set on Same-sex Marriage Ruling 22 May 02
R3.2 The Advocate: Episcopalians to Officiate Gay Weddings 30 NOV 09
R3.1 Melbourne Community Voice: Jews Back Gay Marriage 23 JAN 04
See also: Massachusetts It's all here for everyone – Resource directory for same-sex couples getting married in the Commonwealth (Accessed 10 MAR 11)
GLAD: How to get married in Massachusetts PDF 168.37kb, JUN 11
Parenting, Adoption, Fostering Legislation/Cases/References
1.

State

Second-parent adoption is lawful in Massachusetts [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 23 August 2016, the Supreme Judicial Court unanimously ruled that an unmarried gay person may establish themselves as a child's presumptive parent under state law, even without a biological relationship with the child. Karen Partanen's former partner Julie Gallagher gave birth to two children, now 4 and 8 years old, through artificial insemination and Partanen helped raise them. Partanen wanted to be declared a full legal parent and the Court reversed the dismissal order of the Probate and Family Court and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with the SJC's opinion [C2.7], [R2.6].

On 04 January 2016, the Superior Judicial Court affirmed the decision of the Department of Children and Families denying the application of Gregory and Melanie Magazu to become foster and pre-adoptive parents because of their use of corporal punishment as a form of discipline in their home on their biological children [C2.5], [R2.4].

On 07 May 2015, the Supreme Judicial Court concluded 7-0 that State law did not require the lawful (same-sex) parents of a child to give notice of the petition for adoption to a known sperm donor and remanded the case to the Probate and Family Court for further proceedings consistent with the opinion [C2.3], [R2.2].

In August 2000, the state probate court in Boston ruled that a lesbian couple can list both of their names on a birth certificate under the category of "mother'' as long as the women are connected to a child by birth or biology and are the intended parents [R2.1].

R1.1 Chicago Tribune: Same sex, and parents too 23 JUN 02
2. Courts & Tribunals
C2.7 Opinion: Karen Partanen v. Julie Gallagher SJC-12018 PDF 195.86kb 23 AUG 16
R2.6 NBCnews: Court Grants Full Parental Rights to Unmarried Lesbian 04 OCT 16
C2.5 Opinion: Magazu v. Department of Children and Families No. SJC 11864 PDF 108.16kb, 04 JAN 16
R2.4 WesternMassNews: Court: Spanking enough to deny foster parent application 05 JAN 16
C2.3 Opinion: Adoption of a Minor No. SJC-11797 PDF 07 MAY 15
R2.2 BostonHerald: Supreme Judicial Court: Sperm donors do not have to give permission for gay adoptions 07 MAY 15
R2.1 Boston Herald: My Two Mommies: Court Backs Lesbian Couple 10 AUG 00
Taxation Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Cities & Towns

On 08 June 2011, it was reported that beginning in July Cambridge would begin paying quarterly stipends to city employees in a same-sex marriage who must pay federal taxes on the value of the health benefits their spouse receives from the city [R1.4].

On 09 March 2011, City Manager Bob Healy reportedly told the Cambridge City Council that he couldn't find a way to refund city employees for taxes they pay on their same sex partners' medical benefits. Councilor Denise Simmons, who had submitted the original order, said that she did not accept the response, and the council unanimously voted to send the report back for the city manager to try again [R1.3], [R1.2].

On 10 January 2011, Cambridge City Council called the federal government's taxation on income health benefits provided by employers to the same-sex spouses of their employees as "discriminatory", "unacceptable" and "unfair" and directed the city manager to create a plan that would take on the burden of these taxes that the federal government only imposes on same-sex married couples [R1.1]

R1.4 Boston.com: Cambridge to offset federal gay marriage tax for city employees 08 JUN 11
R1.3 The Boston Globe: The incredibly boring case for federally recognized same-sex marriage 15 MAR 11
R1.2 The Cambridge Chronicle: Cambridge city councilors demand solution to same-sex marriage benefits taxes 09 MAR 11
R1.1 WickedLocal Cambridge: Cambridge City Council opposes federal tax on same-sex benefits 11 JAN 11
Violence: Bullying, Domestic Violence, Harassment, Vilification Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [HATE CRIMES]
1.

State

On 20 March 2014, the Senate approved 37-1 bill H 3909 strengthening anti-bullying law protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and students with disabilities and creating new reporting measures for schools [R1.6].

On 26 February 2014, the House approved (143-4) a bill (H.3909 An Act relative to bullying in schools) designed to build on the state's 2010 anti-bullying law in part by strengthening protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and students with disabilities. The bill now heads to the Senate [R1.5].

On 04 May 2010, Governor Deval Patrick signed legislation to implement new rules for reporting incidents of bullying in schools and to provide training for all adults who work at schools on how to identify, prevent, and manage such incidents [R1.4].

In April 2010, under new legislation, all instances of bullying must be reported by school employees and investigated by school principals. The bill went to Gov. Deval Patrick for his signature [R1.3].

In July 2003, a jury awarded a Suffolk County correction officer $624,000 after finding he was harassed at work because he's gay [C1.2], [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 23 March 2001, the Massachusetts appeals court ruled in Ayer v. Sommi & Keller Mass. App. Ct. 207, 744 N.E.2d 679, a case involving abuse by a gay male couple, that courts cannot issue "mutual restraining orders" without specific findings of fact that both parties are at risk to each other [R2.1]

R1.6 EdgeOnTheNet: Massachusetts Senate Passes Updates to Anti-Bullying Law 20 MAR 14
R1.5 SFGate: Massachusetts House passes updates to anti-bullying law 26 FEB 14
R1.4 The Advocate: Massachusetts Governor Signs Antibullying Bill 06 MAY 10
R1.3 The Advocate: Antibullying Bill Passed in Massachusetts 30 APR 10
C1.2 M Salvi -v- Suffolk County Sheriff's Department 67 Mass. App. Ct. 596
R1.1 Associated Press: Gay Prison Guard Awarded $624,000 In Harassment Case 15 JUL 03
R2.1 The Advocate: Massachusetts Court Rules in Gay Domestic Violence Case 29 MAR 01