Mass. Court Rules Gay Marriage Benefits Not Retroactive

The highest court in Massachusetts has ruled that marriage benefits for gay couples can't be applied retroactively to the time before same-sex marriage was legalized in the state.

The Supreme Judicial Court issued the ruling as part of a malpractice case brought by Michelle Charron and Cynthia Kalish, who had lived as a couple for more than a decade before getting married as soon as it became legal in 2004.

The year before their marriage, Charron was diagnosed with breast cancer. Charron's claim for loss of marital companionship was rejected, because they weren't married before she got cancer.

Charron sued for the benefit, arguing the couple would have been married then if it was legal.

But the court rejected the argument, saying the lawsuit would open up a legal Pandora's Box. They also said it would weaken the legal authority of marriage, one of the tenets of the gay marriage ruling.