- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 4, 2006

Attorneys for homosexual-rights advocates yesterday told the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that a proposed amendment to end same-sex “marriage” in that state is unconstitutional and should be thrown out.

The state constitution doesn’t allow citizen-initiated amendments to reverse judicial rulings, said Gary Buseck, an attorney for the Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), which filed the lawsuit.

“The people shouldn’t be able to directly attack [a Supreme Judicial Court] decision,” he said, referring to the court’s 2003 Goodridge ruling, which made Massachusetts the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex “marriage.” GLAD won the Goodridge case.

However, attorneys for the state and supporters of an amendment said Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly acted properly when he certified the amendment language last summer.

Citizen amendments can’t reject court decisions directly, but they can seek to change the state constitution in response to a court decision, they said.

“This amendment does not put the people in the position of declaring the Goodridge decision wrong,” Assistant Attorney General Peter Sacks said.

The high court did not say when it would rule.

To be placed on the November 2008 ballot, the amendment must be approved by 50 or more lawmakers in two legislative votes. The first of these votes could be held Wednesday.

The proposed amendment 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.”

If passed, the amendment would block future same-sex “marriages” but not affect those already conducted. This riled conservatives who don’t want to see the “grandfathering” of about 7,000 same-sex “marriages” conducted since May 2004.

Homosexual rights groups have unanimously denounced the amendment as mean-spirited and cruel.

Amendment promoter VoteOnMarriage.org, which needed 65,825 valid signatures, collected almost twice that many last year.

Separately, the Illinois Family Institute said it will deliver more than 283,000 signatures Monday to state officials to add a marriage amendment to the November ballot.

Petition drives for marriage amendments also are under way in Arizona and Colorado.

Alabama voters will consider a marriage amendment next month. Voters in Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin are scheduled to have marriage amendments on their November ballots.

This story is based in part on wire service reports.

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