Same-sex marriage in the U.S. state of Massachusetts began on May 17, 2004, as a result of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruling in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that it was unconstitutional under the Massachusetts constitution to allow only heterosexual couples to marry. Massachusetts became the sixth jurisdiction in the world (after the Netherlands, Belgium, Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec) to legalize same-sex marriage. It is the first U.S. state to make same-sex marriages legal.
After the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that such marriages cannot be banned under the state's constitution, opponents and supporters of such marriages converged on the Massachusetts State House as the state legislature voted on a state constitutional amendment that would define marriage as only between a man and a woman. Much attention was focused on the city and the rest of Massachusetts when marriage licenses for same-sex couples were issued.