Issue July 2012

July 2012

The metamorphosis of marriage and adoption

When the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts issued its opinion in Goodrich v Dept. of Public Health, 798 N.E.2d 941 (Mass. 2003), family law history was made by the court's deciding that failure to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple violated the couple's constitutional rights under the state's constitution. Since 2003, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa, New York, and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage either by court decision or legislative action. The State of Washington recognized same-sex marriages in June, and in January 2013 Maryland is set to do the same. In addition, in May of this year, the Rhode Island governor signed an Executive Order recognizing same-sex marriages entered into in states that allow such marriages. In the same month, President Obama revealed his support for same-sex marriages in a TV interview, the day after the citizens of North Carolina voted to ban same-sex marriages in its state.

Health care coverage for lawfully residing aliens: Massachusetts and federal perspectives

The commonwealth's policy of near universal health care coverage extends to noncitizens who are living lawfully in Massachusetts. In April 2006, under then-Governor Mitt Romney, Massachusetts became the first state to implement a near universal requirement for health care coverage when the Legislature enacted chapter 58, § 45, of the Acts of 2006, "An Act Providing Access to Affordable, Quality, Accountable Health Care." A significant feature of this law was the creation of affordable and comprehensive health insurance that would be available to qualified low income individuals who lawfully reside in Massachusetts.1 This article provides an overview of the payers for health care coverage that is accorded for the legal immigrant population. Covering legal immigrants was first accomplished in Massachusetts with the state acting as sole payer; however, pending federal public benefits law may provide the necessary, economic support to sustain state health care reform initiatives.2