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Massachusetts Judge Allegedly Colluded With Homosexuals

  • Robert B. Bluey Staff Writer
  • 2004 2 Jun
Massachusetts Judge Allegedly Colluded With Homosexuals
( - A Massachusetts lawmaker issued what he called a five-count "indictment" against the state's highest judge, Margaret Marshall, on Tuesday, accusing her of conspiring with homosexual activists before ruling in favor of same-sex marriage last November.

Democrat state Rep. Emile J. Goguen wants Marshall ousted as chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The information he released Tuesday cites alleged violations of the state's Code of Judicial Conduct and the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. However, Goguen's accusations do not represent formal charges against Marshall.

Goguen accused Marshall of "aiding and abetting" Mary L. Bonauto, the attorney who argued the same-sex marriage case for the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders. Marshall also did nothing when a lower court judge spoke favorably about same-sex marriage, Goguen charged.

The criticism comes a little more than a month after reported about a speech Marshall gave to the Massachusetts Lesbian and Gay Bar Association in 1999. She was an associate justice at the time.

During that speech, Marshall praised her native South Africa's embrace of sexual orientation protections and the "growing body of gay-friendly international jurisprudence," according to a recap of the event from the Massachusetts Lesbian and Gay Bar Association.

Goguen said Marshall should have disqualified herself from the same-sex marriage case as a result of her 1999 appearance before the bar association. Oral arguments in the case, Goodridge v. Department of Public Health , were held March 4, 2003. It was decided Nov. 18, 2003.

At the time of Marshall's speech, the Massachusetts Code of Judicial Conduct stated, "A judge should disqualify himself in a proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned." The code was slightly modified last year to change "should" to "shall."

"After Justice Marshall gave the keynote address at the Massachusetts Lesbian and Gay Bar Association on May 7, 1999, not only 'might' her impartiality be questioned in the Goodridge case, it would have to be questioned by any impartial person," Goguen wrote. "It was not a secret that Judge Marshall desired that such a case be filed in the Massachusetts courts."

The Supreme Judicial Court's public information officer, Joan Kenney, declined to comment on Marshall's behalf.

"The justices have spoken through their written opinions in the Goodridge case," Kenney wrote in an e-mail to . "As in every case before the court, the justices do not comment beyond their written opinions, but they respect the right of individuals to express their own views in such matters."

Even before Tuesday's announcement, Goguen caused a stir by crafting a "bill of address" that asks Republican Gov. Mitt Romney to remove Marshall and three other Supreme Judicial Court judges from office. It awaits action from the House Rules Committee.

A similar measure targeting only Marshall was introduced last week by Democrat state Rep. Philip Travis. Both bills are considered mostly symbolic moves, but their sponsors hope to spur some action on the part of the Legislature.

To help bolster his case against Marshall, Goguen has turned to Edward and Sally Pawlick of Massachusetts Citizens for Marriage, a group that has fought to limit marriage to one man and one woman. The Article 8 Alliance, run by Brian Camenker, has also shed light on Marshall's association with homosexual activists.

In addition to Marshall's 1999 speech before the Massachusetts Lesbian and Gay Bar Association, Goguen said it was improper for Marshall to attend the annual gala of the Women's Bar Association, at which Bonauto was honored in 2000.

"Judges should not attend political events, particularly when the honoree was a partisan such as Mary Bonauto, who appeared regularly in Massachusetts courts," Goguen wrote.

Goguen also scolded Marshall for not censuring or disciplining Suzanne V. DelVecchio, chief justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court. The Goodridge case originated in DelVecchio's court, and according to Goguen, she traveled in the same circles as homosexual activists like Bonauto.

Other alleged violations cited by Goguen range from Marshall's alleged public comments about the case to her behavior during oral arguments.

At least one of Goguen's charges appears unsubstantiated. He cites a Christian Science Monitor story from Nov. 21, 2003, as evidence Marshall spoke to the press, a practice shunned upon by the state Code of Judicial Conduct.

But the author of the story, Sara B. Miller, a Monitor staff writer, said she never spoke to Marshall. Instead, Miller interviewed people familiar with the chief justice.

Marshall has defended her silence about the Goodridge case. Following a commencement speech at Oberlin College last weekend, she told The Morning Journal of Lorain, Ohio, "Judges don't talk about their decisions. Not directly or indirectly."

See Earlier Story:
Author of Homosexual Marriage Ruling is Under Fire, Won't Budge (April 28, 2004)

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