- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 11, 2004

With less than a week before Massachusetts is set to begin issuing the nation’s first legal “marriage” licenses to same-sex couples, conservative groups are filing lawsuits to stop the “marriages” while local officials, judges and ministers are gearing up to accommodate them.

Attorneys are scheduled today to ask U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro to issue a temporary restraining order on same-sex “marriages,” which the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s required in its Nov. 18 Goodridge decision.

The high court doesn’t have the authority to redefine marriage law unilaterally, and its activism in Goodridge “violates the federal constitutional guarantee of a republican form of government,” said briefs filed on behalf of Catholic activist Robert Largess.

Mr. Largess brought his lawsuit with help from the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Citizens for the Preservation of Constitutional Rights in Boston; Liberty Counsel in Orlando, Fla.; and the American Family Association Center for Law and Policy in Tupelo, Miss.

Another group of conservatives is expected to make a similar argument today when it asks a Suffolk County Superior Court judge to throw out the Goodridge decision.

This lower-court lawsuit is brought by the Alliance Defense Fund of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Salem, Mass., lawyer Philip Moran on behalf of former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn and businessman Thomas A. Shields.

Homosexual-rights lawyers who represented the same-sex couples in Goodridge say the Massachusetts high court was well within its authority and the jurisdictional arguments are specious.

The high court rejected such arguments as “erroneous” Friday, when it dismissed a bid to overturn Goodridge by 13 Massachusetts lawmakers and the American Center for Law and Justice.

Little or no headway has been made on bills to recall the four justices who legalized same-sex “marriage” or to allow Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, to appear before the high court to ask for a stay on same-sex “marriage” until a public vote can be held.

Meanwhile, many same-sex couples are getting state-required premarital blood screenings for syphilis in anticipation of Monday’s change in marriage law.

Unitarian Universalist clergy have been offering to “marry” same-sex couples, and at least three of the plaintiff couples in Goodridge have scheduled ceremonies with Unitarian ministers, the Boston Globe reported this week.

Massachusetts has a three-day waiting period for marriage applicants. However, the waiting period can be waived, and some judges have told reporters they are preparing an extra supply of waiver applications to handle an expected surge.

Out-of-state homosexual couples are getting mixed messages about whether they can “marry” in Massachusetts.

Officials of Provincetown, Mass., recently voted to marry any couples who have signed documents saying they know of no reason why they couldn’t be married in their home states.

But Mr. Romney maintains that “out-of-state same-sex couples are prohibited from marrying in Massachusetts under our laws,” said his press aide, Shawn Feddeman.

Mr. Romney has contacted officials in every state about their recognition of same-sex “marriage,” and all the responses he has received say that “same-sex marriage is not permitted,” she said yesterday.

In response, Provincetown Selectman Mary-Jo Avellar said, “Our position is that we’re not the residency police.

“I would think the governor would have more important things to think about than who is getting married here,” she said.

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