- The Washington Times - Monday, July 10, 2006

BOSTON (AP) — The same court that made Massachusetts the first state to legalize homosexual “marriage” ruled today that a proposed constitutional amendment to ban future same-sex “marriages” can be placed on the ballot if approved by the Legislature.

The ruling was in a lawsuit brought by homosexual-rights supporters who argued that Attorney General Tom Reilly was wrong to approve the ballot measure because the state constitution bars any citizen-initiated amendment that seeks to reverse a judicial ruling.

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Judicial Court said the constitution does not bar citizen initiatives from making prospective changes to the constitution, even if that effectively overrules the effect of a prior court decision.

The state Legislature is expected to take up the ballot question Wednesday during a constitutional convention.

Citizen-initiated ballot questions must be certified by the attorney general and then approved by two consecutive legislative sessions. Before the marriage question could be placed on the 2008 ballot, supporters would need to win the votes of 50 lawmakers — 25 percent of the Legislature — in two consecutive sessions.

Lee Swislow, executive director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, said she was disappointed but knew it would be an uphill battle. She said the fight is not over.

“So now obviously the focus is going to turn to the Legislature, which has a chance on Wednesday during the constitutional convention to do the right thing and defeat this amendment,” said Ms. Swislow, whose organization filed the lawsuit in January.

Supporters of the constitutional amendment predicted they will have enough votes to win the first round of approval from the Legislature. They also would need to win approval in the next legislative session.

“We are comfortably in excess of 50 votes,” said Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute.

“We are very, very excited, elated and pleased with the SJC ruling,” he said. “All I can say is, justice is alive and well in Massachusetts.”

With a landmark 2003 ruling, the state’s highest court cleared the way for same-sex “marriages” to begin in Massachusetts in May 2004. More than 8,000 homosexual couples have “married” since.

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