MARRIAGE DIGEST: Allowing out-of-staters to 'marry' in Mass. gains momentum;...
Posted on Jun 22, 2007 | by Michael Foust
BOSTON (BP)--With one monumental victory behind them, "gay marriage" advocates in Massachusetts now are looking to change state law and allow same-sex couples from other states to "marry."
Under current Massachusetts law, out-of-state couples -- with the exception of those from Rhode Island -- are prohibited from "marrying" under a 1913 law that prevents a couple from acquiring a license if it wouldn't be recognized back home.
But "gay marriage" supporters want to overturn that law, and they have the support of the governor, House speaker and Senate president, all Democrats. They no doubt also have political momentum, having defeated a proposed constitutional marriage amendment June 14. A "yes" vote would have placed it on the 2008 ballot. The loss was a devastating one for pro-family groups.
"As a strong supporter of gay marriage rights, the speaker believes the so-called 1913 law is outdated and unfair," David Guarino, a spokesman for House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, told the Associated Press. "He believes it should be repealed."
But conservatives warn that such a change in the law would have significant consequences nationwide, perhaps leading to lawsuits in others states by homosexual couples wanting to have their marriage licenses recognized back home.
"It will open the floodgates for Massachusetts to become the Mecca for same-sex marriage," Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, told AP. "Their goal is to strike down the marriage restrictions in every state. Their launching pad will be Massachusetts."
Samantha Dallaire, a spokeswoman for Senate President Therese Murray, told AP Murrary believes the law is "antiquated."
"Gay marriage" advocates cannot turn to the courts. In March 2006 the state's highest court upheld the law in a 6-1 vote. It was the same court that in 2003 issued its landmark ruling legalizing "gay marriage."
Rhode Island couples are allowed to "marry" under a Massachusetts judge's ruling from last September that said "gay marriage" is not expressly prohibited in the Ocean State. Despite the ruling, the licenses still are not recognized back in Rhode Island.
MASS. CONSERVATIVES PLAN NEXT MOVE -- Having suffered a serious setback in their political fight to ban "gay marriage," Massachusetts conservatives now are examining their options for the future. They could start from scratch, but they wouldn't be able to place a proposed marriage amendment on the ballot until 2012, at the earliest.
"We are not going away. We won't stop fighting until the citizens have had their say," a statement on the VoteOnMarriage.org website stated. It was signed by Mineau and by Chanel Prunier of VoteOnMarriage.org.
"There are too many children that are counting on us to continue the battle," the statement continued. "Our team is looking at our strategic options going forward. You will be hearing from us again soon. In the meantime, do not be discouraged, keep the faith. Our work will surely continue."
The organization began collecting signatures in 2005 and gathered 170,000, a record. That qualified it for legislative consideration, and the state legislature passed the amendment in January on the final day of the last session with 62 votes, significantly more than the 50 needed (50 is one-fourth of the legislature). But it had to pass in another session in order to make the ballot, and on June 14 it got only 45 votes. A key factor in the defeat were nine legislators who voted against it after voting for it the first time. Also, two new legislators who campaigned on "letting the people vote" voted against it. The other lost votes resulted from retirements, resignations and Election Day losses.
"These eleven Benedict Arnolds not only lied to the leaders of our movement, they lied to every citizen in this state," a VoteonMarriage.org statement read. "Right up until the day of the vote, each of these legislators reiterated their commitment to voting 'Yes' to give the people a right to voice their opinion on same-sex marriage. Unfortunately, the true character of these so-called 'public servants' became apparent once the final vote was recorded."