- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 1, 2005

A leader of a traditional-values group is scheduled to go before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court today to ask it to suspend same-sex “marriages” until a public vote is taken on a marriage amendment.

State lawmakers are in the process of amending the state constitution to say marriage is only the union of one man and one woman, said lawyer Chester Darling, head of Citizens for the Preservation of Constitutional Rights Inc.

Massachusetts residents have the right to vote on marriage without having the high court “essentially declare the outcome before the vote,” Mr. Darling said. “We’re asking the court to defer to our constitution and let it work.”

Mr. Darling represents C. Joseph Doyle, a leader of the Catholic Action League, in the lawsuit.

The Massachusetts high court is the same bench that, by a 4-3 vote, found a constitutional right to same-sex “marriage” in November 2003.

The court stayed its decision in Goodridge v. Massachusetts Department of Public Health for six months to allow lawmakers to respond. During that time, lawmakers passed a preliminary constitutional amendment forbidding same-sex “marriage” and creating civil unions for homosexuals.

After the amendment passed, Mr. Darling filed an appeal to the high court on behalf of Mr. Doyle, asking it to extend its stay on same-sex “marriages” until a public vote could be held. However, Associate Justice Roderick L. Ireland, who heard the case, denied the request, saying Mr. Doyle lacked standing to alter the court’s ruling.

The stay expired May 17 and an estimated 5,000 same-sex “marriages” have since been conducted.

Today, Mr. Darling will make similar arguments before the entire high court.

Lawyers with the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, who won the Goodridge case, say Mr. Doyle’s case is groundless.

The Massachusetts amendment must be passed a second time by lawmakers before it can go to voters in 2006. Legislative leaders say it may come up this fall.

Mr. Darling said it’s likely that a petition drive in favor of a marriage amendment will begin this fall.

Meanwhile:

• South Carolina lawmakers last week passed an amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman in the state constitution. The measure goes to voters in November 2006. Similar amendment votes are scheduled for June 2006 in Alabama and in November 2006 in South Dakota and Tennessee, although the American Civil Liberties Union recently filed a lawsuit to block the Tennessee amendment.

• Democrats on the California Assembly’s Judiciary Committee passed AB 19, which would allow any “two persons” to marry in the state. The measure now goes before another Assembly committee. Traditional-values groups say AB 19 violates a voter-passed initiative that says only marriages between one man and one woman are valid, and they will conduct a petition drive to put that definition in the state constitution.

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