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Representing Defendant(s) · Victory · Final Disposition on December 31, 2004

Pulsifer v. Portland

GLAD represented the City of Portland, Maine against an attack on the city’s domestic partnership registry by ten-taxpayers, along with two anti-gay organizations, the Center for Marriage Law and the Alliance Defense Fund Law Center, claiming that Maine’s anti-gay marriage restriction and its general authority to regulate marriage prevented the City from providing municipal benefits to committed, unmarried families living and working in the City.  On April 28, 2004, Cumberland County Superior Court Justice Thomas Humphrey ruled in favor of The City of Portland, recognizing that the Maine Legislature’s enactment of a ban on the marriage of same-sex couples did not bar the domestic partnership ordinance, and concluding that the city was well within its authority to protect the health and welfare of its citizens through the registry.

This decision came one week after the Maine legislature took steps to create equal civil rights for all its citizens.  Governor John Baldacci signed into law a bill creating domestic partnerships for heterosexual or gay and lesbian adults who live together under long-term arrangements.  The new law also gives domestic partners the same inheritance rights as a spouse when a married partner dies without a will and allows a surviving domestic partner to make funeral and burial arrangements.