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Gays aim to expand Massachusetts ‘marriages’

- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 17, 2007

The defeat of a Massachusetts marriage amendment last week may re-energize efforts to repeal a law blocking same-sex couples from out of state from "marrying" there, warns the leader of a group that seeks to protect marriage in the U.S. Constitution.

The larger goal of homosexual-rights activists has always been to redefine marriage at the national level, said Matt Daniels, president and founder of the Alliance for Marriage.

If Massachusetts lawmakers repeal the legal barrier to marriage in their state, same-sex couples from across the nation will travel there, get "married" and sue in federal court to strike down any laws or state amendments in their home states that protect traditional marriage, Mr. Daniels said. The goal, he added, is to make Massachusetts' same-sex "marriage" policy "the new social norm for America."

Massachusetts has allowed same-sex "marriage" since a 2003 court ruling; however, a 1913 law blocks couples from marrying in Massachusetts if they cannot marry in their home states. Because no other state allows same-sex "marriage," this law has effectively restricted same-sex "marriage" to couples who live in Massachusetts.

On Thursday, the state legislature voted 151-45 to kill a citizen-supported amendment aimed at ending same-sex "marriage." Lawmakers are expected to move quickly to strike the 1913 law, Mr. Daniels said, adding that the Democrat-led Congress is unlikely to do anything to discourage the de facto opening of same-sex "marriage" to the nation.

Lawmakers have filed bills to repeal the 1913 law, and Gov. Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi, all Democrats, have said they support such a repeal.

Same-sex "marriage" supporters will find resistance in legal arenas.

In 1996, Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) explicitly to prevent one state from unilaterally exporting same-sex "marriage" to other states. Forty states have passed their own DOMAs, and voters in 27 states have amended their constitutions to outlaw same-sex "marriages."

The federal DOMA has been held up in a few cases, but these measures are largely untested.

Mr. Daniels and his allies promote the federal Marriage Protection Amendment, which says: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union between a man and a woman. Neither this constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."

Mr. Daniels said the Marriage Protection Amendment will be successful because, although it bans same-sex "marriage," it doesn't block states from creating benefit packages or other kinds of unions for nontraditional couples. However, amending the U.S. Constitution is a formidable task, requiring approval from two-thirds of U.S. senators and representatives and ratification by three-fourths of state legislatures.