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38 New. Eng. L. Rev. 563 (2003-2004)
The Inevitability of Gay Marriage

handle is hein.journals/newlr38 and id is 585 raw text is: THE INEVITABILITY OF GAY MARRIAGE
Gretchen Van Ness*
Thank you. It is such a great pleasure to be here; to be able to meet so
many people I have read about throughout my legal career. It is also very
interesting to be here as a practicing attorney on a panel about
constitutional issues because I thought long and hard about what I can
contribute to this. I think that if my path had gone in a separate direction I
might be a constitutional law professor myself, but I have been too busy
practicing law. So I thought, What can I add to the panel today? I thought
really what I can add is what it has been like to be part of this fight about
gay marriage in Massachusetts and nationally, as a practicing attorney who
represents gay and lesbian persons, who has worked in leadership of the
Women's Bar Association, which supports efforts to end discriminatory
laws against gay marriage, and who has been able to also be a part of
seeing GLAD's1 work-historic work and courageous work-both in
Vermont and here in Massachusetts where the Goodridge2 case is now
So, as we are here at this historic conference, we are also in the shadow
of history, waiting for the Supreme Judicial Court to act. And as I was
putting together my thoughts for talking with you today, the first title that I
came up with for my remarks was just a very simple one, and it was, Well,
we're right and they're wrong. I realized that I had this sort of childish
* Gretchen Van Ness is a solo practitioner concentrating in civil rights, employment
discrimination, gay and lesbian issues, and small business and non-profit advising. She was
named Young Alumnae of the Year in 2000 by her alma mater, Wilson College, and
currently serves as Vice Chairperson of Wilson's Board of Trustees. In 2001, Ms. Van Ness
was honored as Attorney of the Year for her extraordinary solo career by Syracuse
University Law School. In 2002, Boston Magazine recognized Ms. Van Ness as one of the
best employment lawyers in Boston. Ms. Van Ness also served as President of the Women's
Bar Association (WBA) from 2002-2003, where she led the WBA's successful efforts to
help defeat the proposed legislation that would have denied legal recognition and benefits
for non-traditional couples and their families.
1.  Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.
2.   Goodridge v. Dep't of Pub. Health, 798 N.E.2d 941 (Mass. 2003) (holding that
denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples was a violation of the Massachusetts State

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