A test of same-sex civil rights

April 12, 2001

NORTHAMPTON – Like many parents, Gina Smith and Heidi Norton of Northampton fret over their children’s health and sock away money for college. But because they are a lesbian couple, their family is legally less secure than heterosexual married parents.

Norton and Smith joined six other couples from across Massachusetts Wednesday in filing a lawsuit against the state, saying the practice of denying same-sex couples the right to marry is unconstitutional.

Filed in Suffolk Superior Court by the Boston-based Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, the lawsuit is potentially ground-breaking, many lawyers say. . . .

Cynthia Turnbull, of the Northampton and Springfield firm Katz, Sasson, Hoose and Turnbull, said many case laws address same-sex adoption and other family issues, and she is optimistic that the Massachusetts judiciary is ready to consider same-sex marriage.

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