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Winning Marriage Equality

The innocent comment of their 4-year-old daughter, Annie, is what spurred Julie Goodridge, Ed.M.'83, an her then-partner Hillary to action. After reading a book about people who loved each other, Annie made a list. On it were all the people who she knew who loved each other. Not on the list? Her mothers. "You can't love each other," Annie explained to Hillary. "You're not married."

"We'd had a commitment ceremony in the backyard; that seemed fine for us ... ," says Julie Goodridge, "but we weren't married, and we started to think about what that meant."

So began the fight that would become Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, the landmark case that would see same-sex marriage become legal in the state of Massachusetts in 2003. As one of seven couples involved in the case — and the lead plaintiff — the Goodridges became the public faces of the marriage equality movement. This new role for the family was sometimes difficult on Annie, who found herself having to defend her family to some classmates, and on her mothers, who now had the added responsibilty of helping educate the educators at Annie's school.

"I had to play the role of ambassador for gays everywhere," says Julie, who with Hillary, worked to mobilize the gay community at the school — parents and teachers — to make things easier for their children.

Thirteen years after the historic ruling, Julie Goodridge returned to the Ed School to participate in last semester's Askwith Forum, With This Ring: Winning Marriage Equality. In this edition of the Harvard EdCast, she speaks about her role in the same-sex marriage movement and reflects on her time at the Ed School.

About the Harvard EdCast EdCast RSS FeediTunes one-click subscription

The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, available on the Harvard University iTunes U page, that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber, the Harvard EdCast is a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.


An education podcast that keeps the focus simple: what makes a difference for learners, educators, parents, and communities

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