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MARRIAGE DIGEST: Mass. court to hear challenge to 1913 law; NY judge upholds marriage law; amends. advance in 4 states


BOSTON (BP)–The Massachusetts high court will hear a challenge in September to a 1913 law that prevents out-of-state homosexual couples from acquiring marriage licenses.

The law has served as a barrier to same-sex couples from other states who want to get “married” in Massachusetts.

The once-overlooked law prevents out-of-state couples from receiving a marriage license if the marriage itself would not be recognized in their home state. Only Massachusetts recognizes “gay marriage.”

The homosexual legal group Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders filed the lawsuit last year, only to see a lower court judge uphold the law in an August ruling. GLAD chose to bypass the appellate court and appeal the ruling directly to the Supreme Judicial Court, the highest court in the state.

GLAD is the same legal organization that successfully sued to have same-sex “marriage” legalized in Massachusetts. Court-ordered “gay marriage” got underway last May.

“It’s time for the court to tear down the fences of discrimination that the commonwealth has erected at our borders,” GLAD’s Michele Granda said, according to The Boston Globe. “The court has already decided that marriage rights cannot be denied to gays and lesbians, because they’re gays and lesbians, yet that’s exactly what the commonwealth is doing now.”

Without the 1913 law in place, it will become easier for “gay marriage” to spread to other states. GLAD’s lawsuit was filed on behalf of homosexual couples from Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Five of the couples actually received marriage licenses in the initial days of “gay marriage” legalization, when some towns were openly defying the 1913 law. Three of the couples were denied licenses. Because of the law, there is some question as to whether the couples who received the licenses are legally “married.”

Legal experts say a valid marriage license strengthens the case of those who seek to legalize “gay marriage” in other states.

But even with the law in place, homosexual activists show no sign of slowing down in their nationwide legal strategy. “Gay marriage” lawsuits are pending in nine states nationwide. In addition, federal lawsuits against the federal Defense of Marriage Act are pending in California and Oklahoma. If DOMA is overturned, then all 50 states presumably would be forced to recognize same-sex “marriage.”

N.Y. JUDGE UPHOLDS MARRIAGE — A New York judge upheld the traditional definition of marriage Feb. 23, ruling against 25 homosexual couples from Ithaca, N.Y., who are seeking the legalization of same-sex “marriage.”

“Social perceptions of same-sex civil contracts may change over time, and every group has the right to persuade its fellow citizens that its view of such matters is the best,” Judge Robert C. Mulvey wrote, according to The Ithaca Journal. “If that day comes, it is within the province of the legislature to so act.”

Practically, though, the ruling is of little consequence. Homosexual activists already have won in a separate court, when in February another New York judge ruled that same-sex “marriage” must be legalized. It is being appealed.

All total, three judges now have upheld New York’s marriage law, while a fourth judge has struck it down. All sit on the state Supreme Court, which is the trial-level court in New York. The Court of Appeals is the highest court and likely will make the final decision.

AMENDMENTS ADVANCE IN 4 STATES — Constitutional marriage amendments advanced in four states the week of Feb. 20.

In Indiana, a marriage amendment passed the Senate by a vote of 42-8 and now goes to the House. Because of the state’s lengthy amending process, it would not go to voters until 2008.

In Tennessee, an amendment passed the House finance subcommittee unanimously. The amendment would go to voters in November 2006.

In South Carolina, a marriage amendment passed the House judiciary committee.

In South Dakota, an amendment passed the Senate state affairs committee in a 5-4 vote. If it passes the full Senate, it will go to voters in 2006, the AP reported. The amendment already has passed the state House.

At least 17 states are considering constitutional marriage amendments. The amendments tie the hands of state courts, preventing Massachusetts-type court rulings legalizing “gay marriage.”

State amendments, though, are vulnerable in federal court. Because of that pro-family groups are promoting an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
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For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage

    About the Author

  • Michael Foust