- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 15, 2005

As same-sex “marriage” advocates prepare to celebrate tomorrow’s one-year anniversary in Massachusetts, traditional-values groups are decrying recent decisions in Nebraska and California that reject traditional marriage amendments.

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the nation’s first legally issued “marriage” licenses to homosexual couples.

Traditional-values groups tried to stop the “marriages” with a wave of lawsuits, but the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s landmark Goodridge v. Massachusetts Department of Public Health decision, which legalized homosexual “marriage,” remained in effect.

As the clock struck midnight last May 17, clerks in Cambridge, Mass., issued the state’s first same-sex “marriage” licenses. Within a week, nearly 2,000 same-sex couples, led by the plaintiffs in the Goodridge case, held “marriage” ceremonies and celebrations.

As of Dec. 31, 5,994 same-sex couples had “married,” the Massachusetts Department of Public Health said. Of these, 2,123 were male couples and 3,871 were female couples.

This week’s celebrations include a giant anniversary photo shoot, scheduled for tomorrow on the Massachusetts Statehouse steps, as well as parties and religious ceremonies, said Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, the law firm that won the Goodridge case.

Elsewhere, same-sex “marriage” advocates and traditional-values groups are clashing over judicial and legislative decisions.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon struck down Nebraska’s constitutional marriage amendment.

The law, passed by 70 percent of voters in 2000, said: “Only marriage between a man and a woman shall be valid or recognized in Nebraska. The uniting of two persons of the same sex in a civil union, domestic partnership, or other similar same-sex relationship shall not be valid or recognized in Nebraska.”

Plaintiffs represented by Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the law blocked their rights to free association and political participation.

“The amendment just addressed gay people — not straight folks — and it took everything off the table,” said James Essex, a lawyer with the ACLU’s Lesbian & Gay Rights Project in New York.

Judge Bataillon agreed, saying the law reflected “animus” against homosexual couples and interfered with their “expressive and intimate associational rights.”

Traditional-values groups called the decision “judicial activism.” Judge Bataillon’s ruling “ironically” tries to protect political participation rights by denying them to Nebraska voters, said William Duncan of the Marriage Law Foundation in Provo, Utah.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning said the ruling by Judge Bataillon, who was appointed by President Clinton in 1997, will be appealed.

Also last week, California lawmakers in both chambers rejected proposed constitutional amendments to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Randy Thomasson of the Campaign for Children and Families pledged to start a petition drive to put such an amendment on the 2006 ballot.

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