The first legally recognized same-sex weddings in the United States took place in Massachusetts after the state’s highest court ruled in the 2004 case Goodridge vs. The State Department of Public Health that the denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples violated the state’s constitution.

Friday marks the 15th anniversary of the first marriage made possible as a result of that landmark decision. Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, who wrote the decision, recently joined Jim Braude on Greater Boston to discuss the impact of the case.

“I always try to say, ‘Don't thank me, thank the constitution,’” Marshall said, explaining her response to those who express appreciation for her role in the case.

Marshall cited the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in the court’s decision, writing that the law protected “the core concept of common human dignity” and “precludes government intrusion into the deeply personal realms” of adult relationships.

Years later, her words are still being read at wedding ceremonies.

According to a May 2018 Gallup poll, acceptance of same-sex marriage has drastically changed over the past 15 years. Sixty-seven percent of Americans support marriage equality, as opposed to only 42 percent in 2004.

It's a change, Marshall believes, that reflects the country’s values.

“I think it says that we learn in this country. We enjoy everybody's success. We enjoy celebrations,” she said.

But despite overwhelming public support, Marshall said she has been approached by couples who voice concern that current political and legal trends could work to overturn the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. It’s a concern shared by those who are worried that states are gearing up to undermine Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion.

To address these fears, many 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have proposed structural changes to the U.S. Supreme Court. The former chief justice said she favors some changes as well.

“I think we have to have mandatory age retirement,” said Marshall. “When the constitution was written, people were living to age 50. Now they’re living to 100.”

Marshall believes an age limit will reduce the panic caused by unlimited terms.

“No other country in the world, even the ones that have our model, have justices sitting for that long,” she said.

But that is not the issue that worries her most. She’s most concerned about unbridled hate speech.

Marshall interprets the founders’ protections on free speech as intending to allow for criticism of the government, but worries about a lack of restrictions in our current laws.

Referencing her experience of growing up in South Africa during an apartheid regime, she explained, “I come from a country where I know what hate can do.”