- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Massachusetts lawmakers yesterday rejected a marriage constitutional amendment, guaranteeing that same-sex “marriage” will continue in that state for at least three more years.

The amendment would have created civil unions for same-sex couples while disallowing same-sex “marriage.”

It was approved last year, 105-92, and lawmakers had to pass it a second time to place it on the 2006 ballot. However, yesterday’s 157-39 rejection showed how little support the amendment had after a year.

Many lawmakers said they rejected the measure because they no longer wanted to undo the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s 2004 ruling legalizing same-sex “marriage.”

“Gay marriage has begun, and life has not changed for the citizens of the commonwealth, with the exception of those who can now marry,” said state Sen. Brian Lees, a Republican co-sponsor of the amendment. “This amendment, which was an appropriate measure or compromise a year ago, is no longer, I feel, a compromise today.”

Conservatives shunned the amendment because it created civil unions, which they oppose as ersatz same-sex “marriage.”

“The union of two women and two men can never consummate a marriage. It’s physically impossible,” said Rep. Phil Travis, a Democrat. “The other 49 states are right, and we are wrong.”

Homosexual-rights advocates and traditional-values groups all lobbied for the defeat of the amendment, which had been introduced by Senate President Robert E. Travaglini and Mr. Lees.

With yesterday’s defeat, the battle shifts to a petition drive for a marriage constitutional amendment aimed at the 2008 ballot.

The amendment, sponsored by VoteOnMarriage.org and supported by Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, would outlaw same-sex “marriage” in Massachusetts upon passage.

However, the amendment would not be retroactive and same-sex “marriages” already conducted by 2008 would not be affected. An estimated 6,100 same-sex “marriages” have been conducted in Massachusetts since May 2004.

The petition drive starts later this month. Supporters have until the Nov. 23 to meet their goal of around 120,000 certified signatures.

The amendment initiative must then be approved twice by 25 percent of lawmakers — or 50 members — before it can go to voters.

Traditional values groups think they can find 50 votes in each of the Democrat-led legislative chambers. However, House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi supports same-sex “marriage” rights, and Mr. Travaglini is also viewed as friendly to homosexual rights.

The amendment initiative says, “When recognizing marriages entered into after the adoption of this amendment by the people, the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall define marriage only as the union of one man and one woman.”

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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