- The Washington Times - Monday, May 27, 2002

A group trying to define marriage in the U.S. Constitution says its goal is even more urgent now that an appeal has been filed in a Massachusetts lawsuit involving homosexual couples who want to "marry."
"This is the lawsuit that may well end marriage," said Matt Daniels, executive director of the Alliance for Marriage, which has proposed a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
On May 15, three Republican and three Democratic members of the House introduced a bill to enact the two-sentence amendment.
Homosexual activist groups often say that they have "no effort under way to redefine marriage in America," Mr. Daniels said.
But an appeal filed on Tuesday with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was intended to deliver state "marriage" licenses to seven same-sex couples, he said.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court "is one of the most sympathetic courts in the nation when it comes to the extreme demands of gay activist groups," said Mr. Daniels, noting that this court once voted 8-1 to force organizers of a St. Patrick's Day parade to include homosexual activist groups. That ruling later was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Once the Massachusetts high court has approved licenses for these seven couples, homosexual activists will begin filing lawsuits in other states to win recognition of same-sex "marriage," Mr. Daniels said.
"And none of our conventional state or federal legal defenses including the federal [Defense of Marriage Act] [is] going to be able to stop them," he said, referring to the 1996 law that defines marriage in federal law as the union between a man and a woman.
The seven homosexual couples originally filed their lawsuit in April 2001 in Suffolk Superior Court against the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, which denied them marriage licenses.
On May 8, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Thomas E. Connolly upheld the state's position of denying them licenses, saying that changes in state marriage law should be made by the legislature, not the courts.
Jennifer Levi, senior staff attorney at the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, which was representing the seven couples, said they were not disheartened by the lower court ruling.
"We have always known that there will be no final resolution in this case until it is heard by the Supreme Judicial Court," Miss Levi said.
She added that the plaintiffs' primary arguments are that civil marriage is a fundamental right under the state constitution and that it's unfair and illegal to deny marriage licenses to couples because they are of the same sex.
An array of religious groups support the federal marriage amendment, which would define marriage as the legal union between a man and a woman, and prohibit courts from conferring marital status on unmarried couples or groups.
To be added to the U.S. Constitution, the marriage amendment must be approved by two-thirds of the House and Senate and ratified by at least 38 states.
However, Rep. Jim McDermott, Washington Democrat, said the amendment was "a ridiculous and shameful effort to threaten the U.S. Constitution and raise money and organize."
It's a "vicious attempt to make the U.S. Constitution explicitly anti-lesbian and gay rights," said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women.
President Bush's position, said White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, is that he "supports the law of the land," referring to the Defense of Marriage Act.


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