MARRIAGE DIGEST: Pilgrims' town could see same-sex honeymoons

PROVINCETOWN, Mass. (BP)--In 1620, the Pilgrims boarded the Mayflower and sailed for America, where they first dropped anchor just off what is now known as Provincetown, Mass. -- on the tip of Cape Cod -- before heading on to Plymouth.

In just a few months, history could me made again in what the locals call "P-Town."

Provincetown, Mass., is known for its history, but it's also known for its welcoming attitude toward the homosexual community.

And, if marriage licenses are granted to same-sex couples in Massachusetts this May, Provincetown figures to be a prime location for same-sex "weddings" and honeymoons.

In recent weeks the media has descended on the small town, in anticipation of what is coming following the Massachusetts' high court's decision that same-sex couples cannot be denied marriage licenses.

"Usually we average seven to 10 [heterosexual] weddings a year," Tom Walter, co-owner of Provincetown's Crown Pointe Inn, told The Los Angeles Times. "Now we are averaging seven to 10 [homosexual] wedding requests per week."

The town doesn't shy from its image. Businesses throughout Provincetown display the "gay pride" rainbow flag. The city's own website includes links to information about the controversial court decision. According to the website marriage licenses can be granted on May 17.

"Questions? Contact the Town Clerk," the website reads.

The town clerk is Douglas Johnstone, who is already busy taking phone calls in anticipation of what could be a busy summer.

"I think many people in the community, both gay and straight, are going to want to help out, because this is such a historic event," he told The Times.

HEARINGS COMING -- Rep. Steve Chabot, an Ohio Republican and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee's Constitution subcommittee, told The Cincinnati Post he plans on holding hearings in the next month on the Massachusetts court decision and the possible need for a federal constitutional marriage amendment.

"If we come to the conclusion that we cannot legislatively protect the institution of marriage -- in other words, if something like [the Defense of Marriage Act] does not protect marriage -- then there will be sufficient support to pass a constitutional amendment," he told the newspaper. "I will support that if that is the conclusion that we come to."

Sen. John Cornyn, R.-Texas, has said hearings should be held in the Senate. He chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee's Constitution subcommittee.

SANTORUM ON BOARD -- Sen. Rick Santorum, R.-Pa., has signed on as a co-sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment, increasing to eight the number of supporters in the Senate. Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia is the only Senate Democrat co-sponsor.

It has 113 supporters in the House.

The amendment would protect the traditional definition of marriage. All of the Democratic presidential candidates oppose it, while President Bush reportedly has promised Washington legislators he will support it.

CALIF. NEXT? -- The same day San Francisco defied state law Feb. 12 by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, state Assemblyman Mark Leno, a Democrat, introduced legislation that would legalize same-sex "marriage" statewide.

Meanwhile, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told The Los Angeles Times that while he supports the state's domestic partner laws, he believes marriage is "between a man and a woman."

Liberty Counsel President Mathew Staver, whose organization has filed suit against the city of San Francisco, told Baptist Press he believes a court will render the licenses meaningless. The Liberty Counsel is representing the Campaign for California Families.

IDAHO BILL ADVANCES -- A state constitutional amendment banning same-sex "marriage" passed the Idaho House of Representatives 53-17 Feb. 12, according to the Associated Press. If it passes the Senate by a two-thirds majority it would go before voters in November.

Idaho has a statute banning same-sex "marriage," although an amendment is considered to be greater protection against Massachusetts-type court rulings.

At least 14 states nationwide are considering constitutional amendments.

GA. BILL MOVES ON -- A Georgia state Senate committee passed a constitutional amendment by a vote of 11-1 Feb. 11, sending it to the full Senate. It must pass two-thirds of both the House and Senate before going before voters in November. Georgia already has a statute defining marriage.

ARIZONA UPDATE -- The state of Arizona has asked the state Supreme Court not to review a case that seeks to legalize same-sex "marriage" statewide. In October a state appeals court, in a 3-0 ruling, refused a request by two homosexual men to grant them marriage licenses.

The Alliance Defense Fund, a pro-family legal organization, filed a brief siding with the state. ADF is representing state Sen. Mark Anderson.

KANSAS CONSIDERS AMENDMENT -- A Kansas House committee held a hearing Feb. 11 on the possibility of passing a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex "marriage." The amendment must be approved by two-thirds of both the House and Senate in order to be placed before voters in November.

"Marriage didn't originate from the state or from the church," Archbishop James Keleher told the committee, according to The Kansas City Star. "It is God-given. It is a gift from God himself. Therefore, neither church nor state can alter the basic meaning and structure of marriage."

S.C. STRENTHENING LAW -- Two South Carolina legislators want to strengthen the state's ban on same-sex "marriage." State Reps. Gloria Haskins and Marty Coates, both Republicans, have authored legislation that would "build a firewall that prevents another state's action from having any effect on South Carolina," Haskins told the Associated Press.

The bills would also prohibit the state from giving insurance benefits to the partners of same-sex couples. South Carolina is one of 38 states with a defense of marriage act banning the recognition of same-sex "marriage."

CONN. AND R.I.? -- Although lawmakers in the New England states tend to be more liberal than elsewhere, some politicians in Connecticut and Rhode Island are warm to the idea of passing defense of marriage acts.

Conn. Gov. John Rowland said Feb. 9 that "if need be" he would support a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex "marriage," according to the Meriden (Conn.) Record-Journal.

In Rhode Island, state Rep. Victor Moffitt, a Republican, has introduced a bill that would ban same-sex "marriage" within the state.

Connecticut and Rhode Island are two of only 12 states that have no explicit ban on same-sex "marriage."


For more information on the battle over same-sex "marriage," visit BP's story collection at:

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