- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 30, 2006

BOSTON (AP) — Same-sex couples from states where homosexual “marriage” is banned cannot legally marry in Massachusetts, the state’s highest court ruled today.

The Supreme Judicial Court, which three years ago made Massachusetts the first state to legalize homosexual “marriage,” upheld a 1913 state law that forbids nonresidents from marrying in Massachusetts if their marriage would not be recognized in their home state.

“The laws of this commonwealth have not endowed non-residents with an unfettered right to marry,” the court wrote in its 38-page opinion. “Only non-resident couples who come to Massachusetts to marry and intend to reside in this commonwealth thereafter can be issued a marriage license without consideration of any impediments to marriage that existed in their former home states.”

Eight homosexual couples from surrounding states had challenged the law in a case watched closely across the country.

In its ruling, the court sent the cases involving couples from Rhode Island and New York back to a lower court, saying it was unclear whether same-sex “marriage” is prohibited in those states.

Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, applauded the ruling.

“We don’t want Massachusetts to become the Las Vegas of same-sex marriage,” Mr. Romney said. “It’s important that other states have the right to make their own determination of marriage and not follow the wrong course that our Supreme Judicial Court put us on.”

One plaintiff, Mark Pearsall, called today’s ruling “illogical.”

“It’s a statement that’s not really based around any sense of humanity, but really on a sense of politics, which is really not a fair way to treat people. It’s a hurtful thing,” said Mr. Pearsall, of Lebanon, Conn., who traded vows with Paul Trubey in Worcester in 2004.

In oral arguments before the high court in October, a lawyer for the couples argued that the 1913 law had been unused for decades until it was “dusted off” by Mr. Romney in an attempt to discriminate against same-sex couples.

Mr. Romney ordered city and town clerks to enforce that law after the first same-sex “marriages” were performed in Massachusetts in May 2004.

Attorneys for the state argued that Massachusetts risked a backlash if it ignored the laws of other states by letting same-sex couples marry here when their own states prohibited such unions.

More than 6,000 homosexual couples have tied the knot in Massachusetts since the court ruled in 2003 that the state Constitution gives same-sex couples the same right to “marry” as heterosexual couples.

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