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Same-Sex Marriage Barrier Nears End in Massachusetts
|Last Edited||ArmyDem Jul 29, 2008 10:41pm|
|Media||Newspaper - New York Times|
|News Date||Thursday, July 31, 2008 04:40:00 AM UTC0:0|
|Description||By PAM BELLUCK |
Published: July 30, 2008
BOSTON — Massachusetts moved closer on Tuesday to erasing a hurdle that blocked most out-of-state gay men and lesbians from marrying here.
Following a vote by the state Senate two weeks ago, the House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to repeal a 1913 law that prevented Massachusetts from marrying out-of-state couples if their marriages would not be legal in their home states.
The vote of 118 to 35 followed about 45 minutes of debate. Gov. Deval Patrick said he would sign the repeal.
When Massachusetts became the first state to allow gay men and lesbians to marry in 2004, then-Gov. Mitt Romney invoked the 1913 law, saying the state should not become “the Las Vegas of same-sex marriage.” Same-sex marriage advocates tried unsuccessfully to have the ban lifted in court, but held off pressing lawmakers to repeal it because they worried it would become an issue in the presidential election.
But after same-sex marriage became legal in California in June, regardless of where a couple lives, and Gov. David Paterson of New York decided to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, advocates felt they could push to lift the ban without becoming a national lightning rod. They even argued, supported by a state study, that Massachusetts would reap millions of dollars from same-sex weddings and tourism.
“This really does eliminate the last vestige of legal discrimination against same-sex couples in our laws,” said Marc Solomon, executive director of Mass Equality.