- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 6, 2005

BOSTON (AP) — In a case closely watched across the country, the court that made Massachusetts the first state to legalize homosexual “marriage” was asked yesterday to decide whether same-sex couples from out of state can tie the knot here, too.

At issue before Massachusetts’ highest court was a 1913 state law that says that out-of-state couples cannot get married in Massachusetts if their home states do not recognize such unions. Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, has invoked the law to prevent out-of-state homosexual couples from getting married here.

If the Supreme Judicial Court strikes down the 92-year-old, same-sex couples from across the country could come here to wed and then demand marriage rights at home.

Eight homosexual couples from surrounding states, all of whom were denied marriage licenses in Massachusetts, are challenging the law.

Massachusetts last year became the first state to allow same-sex “marriage.” Forty-one other states have passed laws or constitutional amendments banning it.

Michele Granda, a homosexual rights lawyer for the couples, argued before the high court yesterday that the 1913 law “sat on the shelf” unused for decades until it was “dusted off” by the governor.

Miss Granda said the high court, in its historic ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” found that under the Massachusetts Constitution, same-sex couples had the same right to marry as heterosexual couples.

“Nothing in [that ruling] says that our officials can discriminate simply because officials in other states discriminate,” Miss Granda told the six-judge panel.

Attorneys for the state argued that the law is being enforced in an evenhanded way for both heterosexual and same-sex couples.

Assistant Attorney General Peter Sacks said Massachusetts risks a “backlash” if it flouts the laws of other states by marrying homosexual couples from states that prohibit it. “We’ve got respect for other states’ laws,” he said.

The high court is expected to issue a ruling in the next few months.

The eight couples who sued are from Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and New York.

After same-sex “marriage” became legal in May 2004, Mr. Romney ordered city and town clerks to enforce the 1913 law and wrote to every other governor in the nation that out-of-state homosexual couples would not be allowed to marry in Massachusetts. A few communities initially defied the governor but eventually complied.

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