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Mass. legislators recess without voting

BOSTON (BP)–In a move expected by both sides, Massachusetts legislators meeting in a constitutional convention May 9 recessed without voting on a proposed marriage amendment.

The convention is set to meet next on June 14. If one-fourth of legislators — that is, 50 — vote for the amendment on that date, it will go to the voters in 2008. If adopted, the proposal essentially would reverse the state high court’s landmark “gay marriage” decision issued in 2003. The constitution requires legislators meeting in constitutional conventions to convene the second Wednesday of May, which this year fell on May 9.

A statement by VoteOnMarriage.org — the campaign supporting the proposal — said it was “disappointed” the amendment wasn’t given an up-or-down vote. Senate President Therese Murray, a Democrat, had hinted the May 9 meeting would be recessed without a vote. A state budget, she said, needs to be passed before the legislature moves on to the amendment. But Murray has promised an eventual vote on the proposal.

“Senate President Murray gave her word that a vote would be taken on the marriage amendment after the state budget deliberations were concluded, and we take her at her word,” Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman for VoteOnMarriage.org, said in a statement.

Mineau previously told Baptist Press the amendment has 57 “confirmed votes.”

Amending the constitution in Massachusetts is a lengthy, multi-year process, requiring passage by two consecutive sessions of the legislature and approval by voters. The amendment already passed once, when legislators meeting Jan. 2, on the final day of the last session, approved it with 62 votes. A record 170,000 Massachusetts citizens signed petitions to qualify the amendment for legislative consideration. Senate support for the amendment dropped some in recent months due to losses during the last election, retirements or resignations.
Compiled by Michael Foust

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