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Dissenting Opinions

Like Kevin J. DiGenova [“Separation of Powers,” March 16] I have read the dissenting opinion in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health. I have also read the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia (1967) and the California Supreme Court’s decision in Perez v. Sharp (1948). The latter notes that “the right to marry is the right to join in marriage with the person of one’s choice.”

Just as the antimiscegenation laws that those cases struck down didn’t prevent anyone from marrying -- only from marrying someone of another race -- limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples doesn’t prevent sham marriages, it simply prevents some people from marrying the person of their choice.

In Seattle, openly gay sex columnist Dan Savage and his lesbian friend, Amy Jenniges, obtained a marriage license; all he needed, as he put it, was “a woman I don’t love and my $54.” This marriage, were it to take place, would be perfectly legal, yet it would not allow Savage the right to marry the person of his choice.

That, put simply, is the equal protection violation that the Supreme Judicial Court was addressing in Goodridge. That is the “person being denied a right that another person is granted,” to quote Mr. DiGenova.

Christopher K. Davis
MIT/Broad Institute