- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 14, 2007

Massachusetts lawmakers yesterday defeated a proposed constitutional amendment that was intended to end same-sex “marriage” in that state.

The amendment needed the support of 50 lawmakers to be put on the November 2008 ballot, but the joint legislative session opposed it by a 151-45 vote.

Legislative leaders and homosexual rights activists were elated with the outcome, which effectively ends the quest to put same-sex “marriage” to a public vote.

“In Massachusetts today, the freedom to marry is secure,” said Gov. Deval Patrick, who joined other Democratic leaders in urging lawmakers to kill the Protection of Marriage Amendment.

“We hope this decisive vote puts to an end, once and for all, attempts to bypass the [Massachusetts] Supreme Judicial Court’s historic decision in the Goodridge case,” he said.

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual rights organization, said he hopes the “decisive vote” ends efforts to bypass the court’s landmark ruling that said same-sex couples in the state have a constitutional right to “marry.”

“With Massachusetts secure, the focus moves to Connecticut, Rhode Island and the rest of New England,” said Lee Swislow, executive director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the legal defense organization that won the Goodridge case and has brought a similar case in Connecticut.

Raymond Flynn, a former Boston mayor and former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, said the 170,000 Massachusetts residents who signed the petition to put the amendment on the ballot had their votes stolen.

Mr. Patrick and House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi, Suffolk Democrat, “have been unrelenting” in their efforts to sway votes, said Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman for VoteOnMarriage.org, the amendment’s organizing group.

“We will look very closely at the circumstances by which legislators switched their vote for ethics violations or improprieties,” he said, noting unconfirmed reports that Democratic leaders sought votes by “arm-twisting” or offering patronage jobs.

Mr. Mineau wouldn’t commit to proposing another amendment but said he didn’t think the issue was dead “because the people have not had the opportunity to have their vote.”

“This will not go away until the citizens have their opportunity to decide what the definition of marriage is,” he said.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney, who is seeking the Republican nomination for president, called the vote “a regrettable setback” and said it is now more important to pass a national amendment banning same-sex “marriage.”

If passed by voters, the amendment would have ended same-sex “marriage” in Massachusetts, although it would not have affected the 9,965 same-sex “marriages” that have taken place to date.

In April, VoteOnMarriage. org cited a poll conducted by the Suffolk University Political Research Center that said 63 percent of registered voters wanted to vote on the marriage amendment.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide