Background[ edit ] In , passing legislation first proposed in , Massachusetts prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation in credit, public and private employment, union practices, housing, and public accommodation.
Boston 's City Council debated health insurance for the same-sex partners of city employees in May  and Cambridge provided health benefits to the same-sex partners of its employees the following year.
Its supporters focused on equal benefits and fairness rather than same-sex relationships themselves. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino 's attempt to extend health care benefits to city employees' domestic partners by executive order, instead  was successfully challenged by the Catholic Action League in court. In September , the state's highest court ruled that state law allowed for second-parent adoption by a parent of the same sex as a biological parent.
The Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights launched a campaign on behalf of marriage rights for same-sex couples in Massachusetts in Governor Bill Weld said he would be willing to meet with the group and said he was undecided on the question. Senate in , Mitt Romney said: He called the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Rogers , a Democrat, proposed legislation to prevent Massachusetts from granting legal recognition to same-sex marriages established elsewhere: Birmingham, who was presiding, moved for adjournment without considering the amendment, and his motion passed to He called the amendment "wrong-hearted and wrong-headed" and defended the procedure: Today we saw democracy in action.
They may not like it, but they lost two to one. One legislator who voted to adjourn said: State Senator Cheryl A. Jacques , an opponent of the amendment and a lesbian, said: I'll take a victory on this any way I can get it. Rather, it was that we were going to get massacred".
Department of Public Health[ edit ] Main article: Department of Public Health, on April 11, Levi argued that denying same-sex couples equal marriage rights was unconstitutional under the State Constitution. Connolly ruled that the state marriage statute was not gender-neutral, no fundamental right to same-sex marriage existed, and that limiting marriage to male-female couples was rational because "procreation is marriage's central purpose".
He said he would work with the Legislature to draft a law "consistent" with the ruling. He also backed an amendment to the State Constitution to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman while also providing by statute "basic civil rights and appropriate benefits to same-sex couples and other nontraditional relationships. Brian Camenker, head of the Parents Rights Coalition, said: The concept of stable, healthy gay relationships is largely a manufacturing of the gay propaganda machine.
It's four judges basically turning society inside out with no input from anybody else. It called the difference between the terms marriage and civil union "a considered choice of language that reflects a demonstrable assigning of same-sex, largely homosexual, couples to second-class status.
We do not abrogate the fullest measure of protection to which residents of the Commonwealth are entitled under the Massachusetts Constitution Archbishop O'Malley said in a statement: Clearly, the justices who issued this opinion seem determined to blur the constitutional separation of powers and to usurp the rightful role of the Legislature. They had mobilized constituent telephone calls with increasing success in the weeks before the convention and emphasized the impact on children being raised by gay parents.
Finneran and the other by Senate President Robert E. Both banned same-sex marriage, one made civil unions possible and the other established civil unions. We are doing the best we can. We are human beings. Sometimes we come up short. It also specified that civil unions should not be treated as marriages for federal purposes. The language adopted had Romney's support.
One report described the process: In the end, an amendment that was disliked by the political right and the political left was approved because it was the only measure that could draw the support of a majority of lawmakers. Romney believed the vote justified asking the SJC to stay its ruling requiring the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples on May 17, but Attorney General Reilly said there was no legal basis for making that request.
In Vermont , following the enactment of civil unions legislation in , a large group of its supporters had been defeated. One political action committee announced plans to target legislative candidates who supported same-sex marriage, eight Republicans and two independents. Carl Sciortino , a gay activist and first-time candidate, drew support from supporters of same-sex marriage, but ran largely on traditional issues like education, taxation, and health-care, and narrowly defeated a year veteran and same-sex marriage opponent in the Democratic primary on September Four supporters of Goodridge retired and successors with similar views replaced them.
Five opponents of Goodridge retired and three of their successors were supporters of same-sex marriage. In special elections in the spring of , three incumbents who supported a constitutional amendment lost to supporters of same-sex marriage.
On April 16, , Romney asked the Legislature to pass legislation giving him authority to request a stay. He said the implementation of the SJC ruling presented legal complications, citing both a law that invalidates the marriage of nonresidents if the marriage is invalid in their home state and the possibility that a popular referendum on same-sex marriage might retroactively invalidate same-sex marriages. Doyle of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts and several conservative advocacy organizations tried to block the implementation of Goodridge in state court until the attempt to amend the State Constitution was allowed to run its course.
A single justice of the SJC dismissed the complaint on May 3. It argued that the SJC's decision deprived the people of Massachusetts of their right to a republican government. On May 13, , U. Another bill targeted all four justices who signed the majority decision in that case. The Massachusetts Town Clerks' Association raised the issue for the first time on February 24, reporting that some of them were receiving inquiries from out-of-state couples. Reilly took the position that 38 states expressly denied recognition to same-sex marriages and that residents of other states could obtain licenses.
On April 11, Provincetown 's Board of Selectmen decided their town clerk would approve marriage license applications from any couple that swore, as was customary, that their marriage was lawful. The town manager said: A spokesman for the Governor said that the Goodridge decision "changed the definition of marriage, it changed the way the new marriage forms look, and it changed the way city and town clerks will carry out the requirements of the law.
Massachusetts has basically said discriminating against people of the same sex is unconstitutional. So why would we try so hard to uphold another state's discriminatory law?
We do not intend to export our marriage confusion to the entire nation. It also allowed visitors from Ontario to marry, since same-sex marriage was legal there. The Governor's legal counsel, Daniel Winslow , warned that a Justice of the Peace who could not in conscience officiate at a same-sex wedding should resign. The administration said that earlier reports had been premature.
Hundreds of applicants and supporters in celebratory dress—"glittery party hats and boutonnieres"—gathered in the street. City officials opened the building at May 17 "for a rousing party, with wedding cake, sparkling cider and the music of the Cambridge Community Chorus.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino greeted three of the couples who were plaintiffs in Goodridge and said: I am so proud of these people. I am very proud to be mayor of this city today. Those of you from out of state, welcome to Somerville. Only the towns that had made an issue of issuing licenses to out-of-staters had appreciable numbers of them. Until then, I intend to follow the law and expect others to do the same. Bush took note of these events in Massachusetts with a statement calling for a constitutional amendment "defining and protecting marriage as a union of a man and a woman as husband and wife.
All Americans have a right to be heard in this debate. The Cincinnati Enquirer ran the tag "For better or for worse" above the headline "Same-sex weddings make history". On May 17, Richard Blumenthal wrote in a letter to Romney that the status of an out-of-state same-sex marriage in Connecticut was not "automatically void", and Patrick C. Lynch reported that Rhode Island only invalidated a marriage that violated public policy as in cases of "bigamy, incest or mental incompetence".
It failed on a vote of on September 14, after many moderate legislators who had initially supported it refused to and most legislators opposed to same-sex marriage abandoned its compromise language.
This amendment which was an appropriate measure or compromise a year ago, is no longer, I feel, a compromise today. This method would require the collection of thousands of signatures on petitions but would need the support of only a quarter of the legislators to become a referendum. The process of gathering signatures was already underway when the legislators voted to reject the compromise. No one is so rotten to the core that they wouldn't even consider that.
That would be inappropriate. But we don't want to call it marriage. And remember, they held out for marriage. Civil unions weren't acceptable to the gay community in Massachusetts.
They didn't want a second-sister relationship like they have in Vermont. They wanted the full-blown description with the title of marriage. The language of their amendment was: Unlike amendments in other states, the amendment did not explicitly forbid other forms of legal relationships for same-sex couples, such as civil unions or domestic partnerships. It did not attempt to invalidate same-sex marriages licensed since Goodridge. Attorney General Reilly certified the language and format of petitions as valid on September 7, Advocates of same-sex marriage objected that the proposed amendment was clearly designed to reverse the SJC decision, a violation of the State Constitution's rule that amendments could not be used for that purpose.
The emotions that this kind of issue brings out can be very detrimental to society. It has been around for a year and any honest person can conclude that it has not been detrimental to society.