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Mass. Anti-Gay Amendment Certified


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Mass. Anti-Gay Amendment Certified

by Michael J. Meade 365Gay.com Boston Bureau

Posted: September 7, 2005 3:00 pm ET

(Boston, Massachusetts) The first step in getting a proposal on the ballot to ban same-sex marriage was given the go-ahead Wednesday by Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly.

Now certified, the Massachusetts Family Institute can begin collecting the signatures of at least 65,825 Massachusetts voters required to put the issue before voters in 2008.

The proposed amendment to the state constitution would ban both same-sex marriage and civil unions and would nullify those marriages already performed.

The measure has the support of Republican Gov. Mitt Romney. (story)

In announcing he was certifying the ballot initiative, Reilly, a Democrat who has aspirations for the governorship, said there was no valid reason for refusing to allow the Institute the right to begin the process of collecting names.

The move comes one week before the legislature will consider its own proposed amendment. That proposal would ban gay marriage but permit civil unions.

Members of the House and Senate have already given initial approval to the amendment, but the state constitution requires them to approve identical language in two successive sessions before the amendment can be put before state voters. If approved it would be on the 2006ballot.

But, support among lawmakers to give it the needed second vote appears to be waning.

Tuesday two top Democrats in the Senate withdrew their support.

Senate majority leader Frederick E. Berry of Peabody and Senate majority whip Joan M. Menard of Somerset, told the Boston Glove in separate interviews that they made their decisions after realizing the negative consequences predicted by opponents of gay marriage never came to pass after the state began allowing gays to marry more than a year ago.

''There were no earthquakes," Berry told the Globe.

On May 17, 2004 same-sex marriage became legal in the state and shortly after midnight the city of Cambridge, across the river from Boston, became the first community in America to issue marriage license forms to same-sex couples. (story)

Tuesday night the California legislature passed a gay marriage bill. (story) If it is signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger it make the state the second to allow same-sex couples to wed.

©365Gay.com 2005


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