Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Massachusetts same sex marriage decision

News today (also here) that the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention (comprising both Houses of the Legislature) have voted on the constitutional amendment to prevent same sex marriage.

Currently Massachusetts is the only US state to allow same sex couples to marry, following a Court decision (4-3) in 2003.

Since then there have been various and numerous attempts to reverse this decision and a heck of a lot of arguing in Court - the latest because instead of voting on the merits of the amendment the legislature voted to recess its constitutional convention without voting (the measure only needs a 25% vote of each chamber to progress as it is a referendum process).

After cristicism from the State Supreme Court, they voted yesterday 131 against and 62 in favour, thus allowing the measure to progress, provided that they get enough votes next time round (2007). The amendment would then be put to the vote in the election in 2008 - should add a bit of zing to the presidential elections.

Currently the polls indicate a majority against this amendment and 2/3 of the legislators voted against it as well as being opposed by the newly elected Governor, so it's all to play for.

If defeated this would considerably up-end the rhetoric of the religious right (which underpins attempts to get a Federal Marriage Amendment - probably doomed in any case, given the Republican losses in Congress) on 'activist judges', given that already in Massachusetts the legislature has a solid majority in favour of marriage equality.

For more coverage see GLAD , MassEquality , Wikipedia

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