News & Announcements
Free Marriage Ceremonies (Only) Available For Active Duty Military Personnel
PLEASE NOTE that although the Massachusetts Justices of the Peace are offering this to Servicemen / Servicewomen who are stationed in Iraq and
Afghanistan, that I am offering my ceremony services free of charge (This excludes Prenup Meetings and Rehearsals. Those fees still apply.) to anyone
who is currently active in the military regardless of where they are stationed, providing that the appropriate paperwork from the Military is presented.
More than 170 members of the Massachusetts Justices of the Peace Association, Inc. (MJPA) have volunteered to officiate free of charge at weddings of
any U. S. serviceman or woman currently on active duty serving in or being deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.
Justice Elizabeth Brennan Gemelli, President of the MJPA, who announced the service, explained that the serviceman or woman must be or soon will be
deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. This service also applies to those active duty military personnel who are home on leave from Iraq or Afghanistan and
wish to marry.” She said, adding, “This offer is being made in recognition of their service to our country.”
She explained that MJPA members are volunteering their time and expertise “to qualified active duty military personnel who provide proper
documentation and a valid Massachusetts Marriage License.”
A list of Justices of the Peace who are participating in this service can be found on the Massachusetts Justices of the Peace Association website www.mjpa.
org by clicking on the “Click here for the 2006 – 2007 JP’s who volunteered to officiate at Military Weddings – Pro Bono”.
The list, which is updated frequently, is prepared alphabetically by city and town of the participating Justice of the Peace. Servicemen and woman are
encouraged to call the Justice of the Peace closest to where the wedding will take place. Justice Carol J. Merletti of Malden has volunteered to provide
this service. She can be contacted at 781-322-8857 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Need of a Videographer at an affordable price?
Some time ago, a bride expressed her wishes to hire a videographer who was not expensive. She was not looking to have the most perfect video. She only wanted
her special moments to be caught on video. Since most of the videographers that I have worked with are a bit pricey, as most are, I told her about a gentleman that I
know by the name of Chris Gaines. Mr. Gaines is the Director of Real to Reel Film School and works with a youth organization called Raw Art Works in Lynn,
Massachusetts. He is also an accomplished, award-winning filmmaker, photographer and designer. Mr. Gaines shares his talents by teaching at-risk kids at Raw
Arts. The Film School students' films have won national awards and have been shown at Film Festivals
As an instructor at Raw Arts, Mr. Gaines primary goal, along with the other instructors at Raw Arts are to:
• Build job skills and an develop a work ethic with his students
• Help them to become productive members of the workforce
• Develop meaningful mentor relationships with youngsters
• Learn and teach principles of meditation and use art to deal with high-risk behaviors
• Motivate themselves and the kids they work with to stay in school since they are seen as mentors, solid students, positive leaders, and role models
I contacted Mr. Gaines and asked him if he would be interested in having his students work at weddings with me. He jumped at the opportunity. I have had the
pleasure of working with these kids, and they do a great job! It was such an honor for them to be asked to video a wedding. Mr. Gaines accompanies his students at
these weddings, as well as teaches them how to edit the videos before presenting it to my clients. It is a great feeling knowing that I can help contribute to Mr. Gaines’
great contribution by helping these kids. I encourage you to take the opportunity to think about contributing to this good cause as well. Mr. Gaines can be reached at:
Raw Art Works
37 Central Square
Lynn, MA 01901
781 593 5515
Blood Test For Marriage License in Massachusetts
On October 29, 2004 the Governor signed into law Chapter 388 of the Acts of 2004, formerly known as House Bill 75. This law repeals section 28 of c.207 M.G.L.,
eliminating the premarital medical (blood test) certificate requirement for marriage in Massachusetts. Therefore, effective January 28, 2005 (90 days after signing)
medical (blood test) certificates will no longer be a requirement for issuance of a marriage license.
Wedding of Your Desire
by Massachusetts Justice of the Peace & Notary Public
Carol J. Merletti
AT FENWAY PARK, COUPLE CAPS OFF LOVESTRUCK DREAM TO WED
By Julian Benbow, Globe Staff | October 25, 2007
Carol Merletti waited four years to officiate the marriage of a couple like Annette and Larry Rine.
Annette grew up in Vermont a huge Red Sox fan. Larry watched his first game ever live at Fenway Park. The fact that they live in New York, of all places, made it all the
The two discovered Merletti's website, Weddingofyourdesire.com, and sent her an e-mail stating their dream: a wedding at Fenway Park.
That was Merletti's dream, too. A justice of the peace in Malden, Merletti has married couples in hotels, in parks, and on the Boston Common. But she really was
hoping to land a couple seeking to tie the knot at Fenway.
The Rines had a few other ideas - Niagara Falls, Las Vegas. But Larry Rine said, "We came up with Fenway and we looked into it more and, before you know it, we
were up on the Green Monster getting married."
Merletti couldn't have been more excited.
"It's been on my website begging brides to have them get married there," she said.
Merletti married the couple on the top of the Green Monster during the seventh-inning stretch of the Red Sox' regular-season finale on Sept. 30 against the Minnesota
Twins. And, aside from accepting Boston's 3-2 loss, the wedding went off without a hitch.
The Rines wore matching jerseys, "Mr." on the back of Larry's uniform top and "Mrs." on Annette's. As the middle of the seventh inning approached, a quiet buzz
became a crowd of love-struck onlookers.
"They were all excited," Annette Rine said. "One guy asked where the cake was."
They were the center of attention at a Red Sox game, quite a feat. The fanfare was nice, but Larry Rine just wanted to make sure the essentials - mainly, the "I do" -
didn't get lost in the shuffle.
"We were kind of nervous," he said. "I wanted to make sure everything was going to go well and go smooth. So I was a little nervous that people were starting to
crowd in more and draw attention, but it went really well, and I was pretty impressed that it went as smooth as it did."
For that moment, it seemed like everyone was happy for the newlyweds. Everybody but Rine's brother, Jared, a diehard Yankees fan.
"We had a reception dinner that night in New Hampshire," Annette Rine said. "And he wore a Yankees hat to protest."
Welcome to the family.
© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.
By Glen Johnson
AP Political Writer / July 29, 2008
BOSTON—Out-of-state gay couples should soon be allowed to marry in Massachusetts
The Massachusetts House voted 118-35 Tuesday to repeal a 1913 law that bans couples from marrying in the state if the unions would not be legal in their own states.
The Senate also voted for the repeal earlier this month, and Gov. Deval Patrick has said he would approve it. The measure required one more procedural vote in each
chamber before being forwarded to the governor.
"Sometimes what you hope and pray for actually happens, which is kind of overwhelming," Michael Thorne, 55, of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, said after telling his 6-year-
old son his parents could soon get married. Thorne and his partner of 25 years, James Theberge, have an Aug. 18 wedding planned in Provincetown.
Massachusetts was the first state to allow gay marriage, but a 1913 law has barred couples from marrying if the unions would not be legal in their own states. The
repeal effort passed after a relatively quick, 40-minute House debate free of the massive protests that accompanied other gay marriage debates in the state.
Repealing the law would allow the state to compete with California, which recently approved gay marriage -- with no residency requirement. It could also provide an
economic boon, since it would attract gays and lesbians who wanted to formalize their relationship.
In the end, only seven legislators spoke on the issue, four in favor of the repeal, three who wanted to maintain the ban.
Rep. Byron Rushing, D-Boston, said continuing to ban out-of-state gays from marrying was unfair after the state's highest court ruled in 2003 that gay and lesbian
couples have a constitutional right to be married.
"This is question of fairness, and it is a question of equity," Rushing said.
Massachusetts allows first-cousins to marry, but half the states in the country do not. Rushing said some first-cousins from out of Massachusetts have undoubtedly
been allowed to marry here since 1913.
"The fairness in this question is that we have allowed people to marry in Massachusetts who could not legally marry in their own state for decades, and now we want
to change our way we are applying a bit of law we have never enforced. That, I think, is unfair," Rushing said.
Opponents argued repealing the ban amounted to meddling in the affairs of other states and broke with state law and customs that dictated respecting others'
Rep. John Lepper, R-Attleboro, said sanctioning a marriage that is illegal elsewhere would "create a relationship and then set it adrift to settle in a disapproving state."
He spoke of a gay couple from Rhode Island that married in Massachusetts and now is seeking a divorce, saying it was typical of the "legal nightmare" a repeal would
"They can't divorce in Rhode Island because the law does not recognize (the marriage)," Lepper said. "They can't divorce in Massachusetts because there is a one-
year residency requirement for filing."
Former Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney, who was governor of Massachusetts at the time the court ruled gay marriage was legal, instructed city and
town clerks to enforce the long-dormant law once gay marriages started in May 2004.
He argued that repealing the ban would turn the state into the "Las Vegas of gay marriage."
Patrick, who succeed Romney as the state's first Democratic governor in 16 years, as well as its first black chief executive, argued the law carried racial undertones
from a time when interracial marriage was discouraged or illegal in some states.
By Michael Levenson and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
NBC changes rules to allow gay `Today' wedding
By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer
Thu Jul 8, 6:16 PM PDT
After a meeting with gay and lesbian activists on Thursday, NBC's "Today" show said it is changing the rules for its annual wedding contest to allow same-sex couples
to apply for a ceremony conducted on morning TV.
NBC extended the deadline for applications until Monday. Already thousands of couples have expressed interest in the on-air wedding, which the top-rated morning
show has sponsored for a decade, a spokeswoman said.
"We're thrilled that `Today' show's `Modern Wedding Contest' now recognizes what most fair-minded Americans have already concluded — a wedding celebrates love
and commitment, whether the spouses are straight or gay," said Jarrett Barrios, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Viewers plan every aspect of the wedding, from the cake to the clothing styles of attendants. NBC picks four couples from thousands of applicants, and viewers vote
on which of those couples will participate.
Same-sex couples have been excluded because New York state law does not allow them to get wedding licenses. But NBC said GLAAD pointed out that a same-sex
couple would be able to get a license from another state and still have their ceremony in New York.
NBC said it had listened to voicemails and read e-mails protesting its decision not to allow same-sex marriages. The show considers relations with the gay and lesbian
community very important, it said in a statement.
"Moving forward, we ensure that our future wedding contests will be inclusive to all couples," NBC said.
The only time same-sex couples were allowed to apply for the "Today" wedding was in 2005, when an out-of-state wedding was held, said show spokeswoman Megan
Kopf. No gay or lesbian couples were among the finalists, however.
Although "Today" viewers will decide which couple to get married on TV, it will choose from among four that "Today" producers screen and put up for a vote. So
there's no guarantee that even if same-sex couples apply for the on-air wedding, viewers will have a chance to select one to participate.
GLAAD said it only learned last week that same-sex couples weren't allowed to apply, and issued a "call to action" for members to complain to NBC. Thousands did,
the organization said.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or
redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
Globe Staff / July 9, 2010
Judge Joseph L. Tauro, ruling in two separate challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, declared that the law “induces the Commonwealth to violate the equal
protection rights of its citizens’’ and “plainly intrudes on a core area of state sovereignty, the ability to define the marital status of its citizens.’’
“This court has determined that it is clearly within the authority of the Commonwealth to recognize same-sex marriages among its residents and to afford those
individuals in same-sex marriages any benefits, rights, and privileges to which they are entitled by virtue of their marital status,’’ Tauro wrote.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who brought one of the two challenges, said the decisions would apply only to the approximately 16,000 same-sex
couples who have married in Massachusetts since gay marriage became legal here in 2004. They will now become eligible for the same federal benefits extended to
married heterosexuals, she said.
“Judge Tauro’s decision does not technically apply to other states,’’ Coakley said. “It doesn’t change anything in terms of how they treat marriage or how they’re
treated by the federal government.’’
But opponents as well as proponents of same-sex marriage predicted that the Obama administration will appeal the rulings to the US Court of Appeals for the First
Circuit in Boston and that the constitutionality of the law will be decided by the US Supreme Court. During an appeal, it is likely that the law would remain in effect,
The law was defended in court by lawyers from the US Justice Department, even though President Obama supports repealing the law and has called it discriminatory.
In a hearing before Tauro in May, a Justice Department lawyer argued that Congress and President Clinton, who signed the law, had a legitimate interest in preserving
marriage as a heterosexual institution.
Yesterday, a Justice Department spokeswoman, Tracy Schmaler, declined to comment on Tauro’s decision, saying only, “We’re reviewing the decision.’’
Opponents of same-sex marriage condemned Tauro’s ruling and predicted it will be overturned on appeal.
“The fact that the judge could, with a straight face, conclude that after several millennia there is no rational reason why Congress might want to define marriage as one
man and one woman, even though it has existed that way for thousands of years, is irrational,’’ said Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for CitizenLink, the political arm
of the group Focus on the Family.
Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, called Tauro’s decision “another blatant example of a judge playing legislator.’’
“We believe it’s an egregious decision by obviously an activist judge, and it runs counter to previous federal decisions in other districts,’’ he said. “The federal
government should have the right to determine [who receives federal] benefits.’’
Tom McClusky, senior vice president of the conservative Family Research Council, argued that Tauro’s decision “results from the deliberately weak legal defense of
DOMA that was mounted on behalf of the government by the Obama administration, which has called for repeal of the law.’’
Gay-rights activists cheered the ruling, saying it affirms that same-sex couples are entitled to the same federal spousal benefits and protections as other married
Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, which brought one of the challenges on behalf of seven married same-sex couples and three individuals whose same-sex
spouses have died, argued in its lawsuit that the law denied married gay people their constitutional right to equal protection in the form of federal benefits.
“We made, really, a very simple claim, that DOMA violates their equal protection rights,’’ said Mary L. Bonauto, civil rights project director at GLAD, speaking in a
conference call with reporters yesterday. “The Constitution requires the federal government to treat identically- or even similarly-situated people similarly, and DOMA
essentially took just this one small class of married couples and denied them protections across the board.’’
One of the plaintiffs was Nancy Gill, a 22-year employee of the US Postal Service who could not cover her spouse, Marcelle Letourneau, on her family health and vision
insurance plans, forcing the couple to pay more for insurance.
Gill said she heard about the decision yesterday as she was making dinner and let out an exuberant “woo-hoo!’’
“I am so happy I can’t even put it into words,’’ she said.
Governor Deval Patrick said those who challenged the law “clearly made a compelling and effective case against discrimination and, in the process, helped to
guarantee that all of our citizens have access to the same protections and benefits.’’
“This ruling is a victory for equal rights and affirms the hard work we have done over the years to ensure that the citizens of our Commonwealth can marry anyone they
love,’’ he said in a statement.
Tauro drew on history in his ruling, writing that states have set their own marriage laws since before the American Revolution and that those laws were considered
“such an essential element of state power’’ that the subject was not even broached at the time of the framing of the Constitution. Tauro wrote that, for many years,
laws barring interracial marriage were at least as contentious as the current battle over gay marriage.
“But even as the debate concerning interracial marriage waxed and waned throughout history, the federal government consistently yielded to marital status
determinations established by the states,’’ Tauro wrote.
“That says something. And this court is convinced that the federal government’s long history of acquiescence in this arena indicates that, indeed, the federal
government traditionally regarded marital status determinations as the exclusive province of state government.’’
Tauro also rejected one of the primary arguments for the federal marriage law, writing that “denying marriage-based benefits to same-sex spouses certainly bears no
reasonable relation to any interest the government might have in making heterosexual marriages more secure.’’
Lisa Wangsness of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Michael Levenson can be reached at email@example.com.
© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company