Thursday, June 14, 2007

Huge Victory for Civil Rights in Massachusetts

Mary Marra of Haverhill, a supporter of same-sex marriage, blew bubbles as she and hundreds of others demonstrated before the vote on putting the gay marriage amendment on the ballot.
(Globe Staff Photo / John Tlumacki)

Huge victory for civil rights in Massachusetts today, where the proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage was defeated. The vote was 151 to 45; the opponents of gay marriage needed 50 votes to have the question placed on the November ballot. So we will not vote on the civil rights of our fellow citizens. The decision of the Supreme Judicial Court stands:

MARSHALL, C.J. Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations. The question before us is whether, consistent with the Massachusetts Constitution, the Commonwealth may deny the protections, benefits, and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry. We conclude that it may not. The Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens. In reaching our conclusion we have given full deference to the arguments made by the Commonwealth. But it has failed to identify any constitutionally adequate reason for denying civil marriage to same-sex couples.

Boston Globe: Legislators vote to defeat same-sex marriage ban

The Herald's view: Lawmakers vote to kill anti-gay marriage question

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