News Articles

Mass. marriage amendment defeated; conservatives pleased

BOSTON (BP)–As expected, Massachusetts legislators defeated a controversial constitutional marriage amendment Sept. 14, drawing praise from conservatives who hope to pass a more favorable one in 2008.

Meeting in a constitutional convention, legislators easily defeated the amendment, 157-39. It would have banned “gay marriage” while legalizing Vermont-style civil unions.

The same amendment — considered a compromise — had already passed once, in March 2004, although then it drew support from conservative and liberal lawmakers, both of whom abandoned the amendment this time. If it had passed a second time, it would have gone before voters in 2006.

A pro-family coalition, VoteOnMarriage.org, is gathering signatures with the goal of putting an alternative amendment on the ballot in 2008. That amendment would ban “gay marriage” but leave untouched the issue of civil unions.

Massachusetts legalized “gay marriage” in 2004 following a ruling by the state’s highest court.

“Many citizens who oppose gay marriage also oppose civil unions,” Kris Mineau, president of the conservative Massachusetts Family Institute, said in a statement. “MFI believes it is confusing and unethical to restrict citizens to one vote on two opposing issues, which this [defeated] amendment would have done.”

The 2008 amendment requires 65,000 signatures and the support of only 25 percent of legislators in two consecutive sessions. By contrast, the defeated amendment, which originated in the legislature, needed a majority of votes from legislators.

Mineau said conservatives have a “solid foundation in place” to be successful. They have 60 days to gather signatures and will begin doing so Sept. 21.

Although it would ban future “gay marriages,” the amendment would allow existing ones to stand. Conservatives who drafted the amendment feared that a stronger amendment — one that banned all “gay marriages” — would be overturned in federal court.

“Furthermore, legislators that are with us on marriage are certain that any amendment nullifying current homosexual marriages would be ‘dead on arrival’ in the State House,” a statement on VoteOnMarriage.org read.

Although Massachusetts remains the only state to recognize “gay marriage,” that could change in the near future. Eight states are involved in “gay marriage” lawsuits.
For more information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage

    About the Author

  • Staff