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Mass. judge lets law stand that bans same-sex ‘marriages’ for out-of-state couples

BOSTON (BP)–A Massachusetts judge Aug. 18 let stand a 1913 state law that in essence prevents out-of-state same-sex couples from receiving marriage licenses.

Superior Court Judge Carol Ball declined a request by eight out-of-state homosexual couples to issue a preliminary injunction against the law, which prevents out-of-state couples from receiving a marriage license if the marriage itself would not be recognized in their home state. Massachusetts is the only state with legalized same-sex “marriage.” Eventually, the case likely will end up before the state’s highest court.

The Massachusetts governor and attorney general have supported enforcement of the law.

Ray McNulty, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Family Institute, praised Ball’s ruling.

“What it really means,” McNulty told Baptist Press, “is that those individuals who had the intention of coming into Massachusetts and leaving this state to take same-sex ‘marriage’ beyond Massachusetts borders — and propagate same-sex ‘marriage’ throughout the country — are going to be thwarted.”

Plaintiffs in the case said they might push for a full hearing, the Associated Press reported.

“This is a very, very hard day for us,” Bobbi Cote-Whitacre, a lesbian in the case, said in prepared statement, according to AP. “We know that some day this unfair disrespect of our family will end.”

If the law is upheld, it could have an impact on the legal strategy of same-sex couples. In July a lesbian couple from Florida who received a marriage license in Massachusetts sued in federal court, seeking to overturn state and federal marriage laws. That lawsuit targets the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which gives states the option of not recognizing another state’s same-sex “marriage.” If the couple’s license was voided, their case would be weakened.

But even if the law is upheld, homosexual activists have alternate strategies to spread same-sex “marriage” nationally. For instance, same-sex couples residing in Massachusetts could get “married” and simply move to another state and sue.

“For those that said that it was a civil rights issue, I think this ruling indicated that — as we contended — it certainly is not a civil rights issue,” McNulty said.

In her ruling Ball indicated she was sympathetic to the plaintiffs’ arguments but that she felt the law was being enforced even-handed.

“It does seem to this court that on its face the (1913 law) violates the spirit of Goodridge, which held that the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights entitles gay and lesbian couples to equal treatment under the marriage laws of the Commonwealth,” she wrote, AP reported. “Moreover, the court finds troubling the timing of the resurrection of the implementation of (the law) immediately after the Supreme Judicial Court declared the prohibition against gay marriages unconstitutional.

“However, the plaintiffs have failed to show that same-sex couples are being subjected to a different set of rules than are opposite-sex couples.”
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit

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  • Michael Foust