May 4 webcast to air of oral arguments before Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on challenge to ballot question prohibiting same-sex marriage

Webcast of oral arguments in controversial petition case to be airedWhere would mediators be without controversy and conflict? In a way it’s ironic that the work we do might ultimately put us all out of business if only we do it well enough.

Speaking of controversy, especially the intractable kind, few state court opinions in recent years have sparked as much controversy both locally and nationally as did Goodrich v. Department of Public Health, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision which held that the Massachusetts Constitution forbids the Commonwealth from denying the benefits and protections of civil marriage to same-sex couples.

Opponents of gay marriage in Massachusetts wasted no time in circulating an initiative petition to define marriage as the union of a man and woman, which Attorney General Tom Reilly, in a highly disputed move, subsequently certified to appear on the November 2008 state ballot.

Supporters of same-sex marriage have fired their own shot across the marital bow in filing Johanna Schulman v. Thomas Reilly et al., a civil action for declaratory relief relating to this petition with the Supreme Judicial Court, which will hear arguments in this matter at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 4, 2006.

Webcasts of oral arguments, including this one, are viewable online at the Suffolk University Law School web site at http://www.suffolk.edu/sjc/.

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