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Mass. may OK nonresident ‘gay marriages’

BOSTON (BP)–When Massachusetts redefined marriage in 2004, some feared the state would become “the Las Vegas of same-sex marriage” by attracting homosexual couples from all over America. Thanks to a bill going through the state legislature, that now appears on the verge of happening.

The Massachusetts Senate by voice vote unanimously passed a bill July 15 that would repeal a 1913 law that has been used in recent years to prevent out-of-state same-sex couples from “marrying.” The bill could pass the state House by the end of the month and be signed by Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick. Patrick and House leaders support the bill.

The impact on other states could be significant, as same-sex couples could “marry” in Massachusetts and sue their home states to have those marriage licenses recognized.

Patrick’s predecessor, Republican Mitt Romney, famously led a 2004 effort to use the 1913 law to prevent “gay marriage” for nonresidents. The state’s highest court — the same one that recently ordered the legalization of “gay marriage” — upheld Romney’s interpretation of the 1913 law, which prevents a couple from being married in Massachusetts if the license wouldn’t be recognized in their home state.

Repealing the law would provide same-sex couples two venues to get “married”: One on the West Coast (California) and one on the East Coast (Massachusetts).

The decision by the California Supreme Court to legalize “gay marriage” drew nationwide attention in part because — unlike Massachusetts — California has no residency requirements. That ruling in the country’s most populous state provided political cover for some legislators in Massachusetts to support repeal of the 1913 law.

Kris Mineau, president of the conservative Massachusetts Family Institute, said repealing the law will have a nationwide effect.

“The Massachusetts Senate has no right to infringe on the internal issues of how other states define marriage but that’s exactly what they voted today to do,” Mineau said in a statement, adding that the Human Rights Campaign — the largest homosexual activist group in the nation — hired lobbyists to urge passage of the bill. “Legislators were pressured unscrupulously by same-sex marriage activists to dismantle this law or be branded racists.”
Compiled by Michael Foust, an assistant editor for Baptist Press.

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