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Romney Not To Challenge R.I. Gay Marriage Ruling


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Romney Not To Challenge R.I. Gay Marriage Ruling

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

October 2, 2006 - 12:01 am ET

(Boston) Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will not appeal last week's ruling allowing same-sex couples from Rhode Island to marry in Massachusetts.

"I have to follow the law," Romney told the Boston Globe. "This is a nation of laws, even if I don't like them."

But he again called on Congress to pass an amendment to the US Constitution that would bar same-sex marriage across the country.

"Let the citizens decide," Romney told in Globe . "And I'm confident that if the citizens decide it in the privacy of a voting booth, they'll protect traditional marriage."

Romney, widely expected to run for the GOP nomination for president has been a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage and of his own state's highest court after it ruled gay and lesbian couples could not be prevented from marrying.

The ruling made Massachusetts the only state to allow same-sex marriage. Following the ruling two years ago Romney invoked a 1913 law that made it illegal for local clerks to issue marriage licenses to people from out-of-state if their marriage would be illegal where they live.

The law was enacted when most states did not recognize interracial marriage. After the US Supreme Court ruled that laws barring interracial couples from marrying was illegal the Massachusetts statute had fallen into disuse.

Same-sex couples from Rhodes Island, New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine sued the state of Massachusetts over the use of the old law.

A lower court agreed with the state's interpretation of the law and with the help of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the group which won marriage rights for same-sex couples in Massachusetts, appealed to the Supreme Judicial Court.

In March the high court upheld the law in the cases involving couples from Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, noting that each of those states has laws barring same-sex marriage.

But the court questioned whether the law could apply to New York and Rhode Island which have no specific laws barring gay marriage. It ordered those sections of the case back to Superior Court.

The New York case became moot when that state's highest court ruled earlier this year that same-sex couples do not have a constitutional right to marry, and arguments in the Rhode Island case were heard by Judge Thomas Connolly in June.

Last Friday Connolly ruled that because Rhode Island does not specifically ban gay marriage same-sex couples from that state could not be blocked from marrying in Massachusetts. (story)

"No evidence was introduced before this court of a constitutional amendment, statute, or controlling appellate decision from Rhode Island that explicitly deems void or otherwise expressly forbids same-sex marriage," he ruled.

Attorney General Thomas Reilly said he would not appeal. Until this weekend Romney had not said if he would attempt to overturn the ruling.

Speaking Saturday at the New Hampshire Republican Party Convention Romney lashed out at the Supreme Judicial Court for its marriage ruling.

``You and I agree on something about that, and that is my Supreme Judicial Court made a monumental error in saying that our Constitution in Massachusetts requires people of the same gender to marry," Romney said as Republicans cheered. ``I disagree with them on that. I think John Adams would disagree with them on that, as well."

©365Gay.com 2006


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