BOSTON (BP)–The governor and attorney general of Massachusetts say they believe the Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling Nov. 18 is ambiguous enough to allow only civil unions, and not same-sex “marriage.”
Republican Gov. Mitt Romney told reporters the day after the ruling that he would like to see a state constitutional amendment passed banning same-sex “marriage” but also believes a civil union law would appease the court.
The law would be similar to Vermont’s and would give same-sex couples most of the rights of marriage. The unions, though, would not be labeled “marriage.”
“I believe their decision indicates that a provision which provides that benefits, obligations, rights and responsibilities which are consistent with marriage but perhaps could be called by a different name would be in conformity with their decision,” Romney said, according to the Associated Press. “Under that opinion, I believe a civil-union type provision would be sufficient.”
Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly said Nov. 20 he also believes the ruling is vague enough to allow an alternative to marriage.
“I think the key provisions of the opinion really focus on providing people benefits and protections and obligations, and there are different ways of accomplishing that,” Reilly said, according to The Boston Globe. “That is the work of the legislature.”
Their opinion likely will not satisfy either side in the same-sex “marriage” debate. Homosexual activists in the state want nothing short of marriage, while social conservatives say civil unions and same-sex “marriages” are indistinguishable.
Legal experts also believe the court’s ruling requires same-sex “marriage.”
Civil unions were not mentioned in the ruling, and the court re-defined marriage to mean “the voluntary union of two persons as spouses, to the exclusion of all others.”
NOT IN MARYLAND — Opposing bills related to same-sex “marriage” will be introduced in the Maryland legislature, although Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said same-sex “marriage” will not be legalized in his state.
“It’s certainly not going to happen in Maryland. End of discussion,” he said on a radio program Nov. 20, according to The Washington Post.
The newspaper reported that Democrats plan on introducing a bill legalizing civil unions, while Republicans and conservative Democrats will introduce a Defense of Marriage Act banning the recognition of same-sex “marriage” within the state. While 37 states have such a protection, Maryland does not.
MINNESOTA AMENDMENT — Lawmakers in Minnesota are looking to strengthen the state’s ban on same-sex “marriage” by pushing an amendment to the state’s constitution.
The Star-Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis-St. Paul reported Nov. 20 that Sen. Michele Bachmann and Rep. Mary Liz Holberg will push the legislation, which would put the issue before voters.
Although Minnesota has a law banning same-sex “marriage,” a constitutional amendment is considered by legal experts to be a stronger protection.
N.Y. UPDATE — Although a bill to legalize same-sex “marriage” in New York has been introduced in the state assembly, lawmakers there don’t expect it to get anywhere.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno both oppose the legislation, according to Capital News 9 TV in Albany, N.Y.
Additionally, New York Republican Gov. George Pataki says he doesn’t want to change the law.
“The governor is comfortable with the laws as they exist today,” spokesman Joseph Conway said, according to the Gannett News Service.
New York has no legal protections against same-sex “marriage.”
WISCONSIN ACTION — The Wisconsin Assembly failed Nov. 12 by one vote to override Democrat Gov. Jim Doyle’s veto of a Defense of Marriage Act. The bill would have made Wisconsin the 38th state with specific protections against same-sex “marriage.” Needing two-thirds (64) of the votes of those present, the override failed, 63-36.
Now, legislators are considering a state constitutional amendment. It would require passage by two consecutive sessions of the legislature as well by voters, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“We are very seriously looking at the appropriate language for such an amendment,” state Rep. Mark Gundrum said, according to the newspaper.
NEW POLL — A poll by The Los Angeles Times found that 55 percent of Americans oppose same-sex “marriage,” 31 percent support it. The poll of 1,345 adults was taken Nov. 15-18 — mostly before the Massachusetts ruling.
Republicans were opposed to same-sex “marriage” by a margin of 72-19, Democrats by a margin of 54-34.
A plurality of Americans, 40 percent, was also opposed to civil unions. Thirty-six percent supported them.