Massachusetts backs gay marriage

by ignored_one 60 Replies latest social current

  • ignored_one

    BBC NEWS Massachusetts backs gay marriage The US state of Massachusetts has ruled in favour of gay marriage.

    The state's Supreme Judicial Court ruled that that barring same-sex couples from the benefits of civil marriage was "unconstitutional."

    Massachusetts could become the first state to legalise gay marriages, with implications for the rest of the US.

    Gay marriage is banned in the US, but one state, Vermont, has enacted a law which gives same-sex couples the rights of traditional marriages.

    Earlier this year, the US Supreme Court overturned a ban on sodomy in Texas, essentially making it illegal for any state legislature to outlaw gay sex.

    In November, the country's first openly gay bishop was formally consecrated in New Hampshire.

    Bishop Gene Robinson has a long-term male partner, and his appointment has divided the Anglican Communion worldwide.

    Conservative groups and politicians opposed to homosexuality have been pressing for a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages outright.

    The bill, which has 96 sponsors in the House of Representatives, seeks to enshrine marriage as a union exclusively between one man and one woman, and would make same-sex unions a legal impossibility.

    Story from BBC NEWS:

    Published: 2003/11/18 15:16:13 GMT



    Ignored One.

  • Abaddon

    Good for Massachusetts, it must be comforting for the tax paying citizens of that State to know that they may soon have access to the same benefits of a legal relationship regardless of them loving someone of the same or a different gender.

  • Emma

    I'm sure there will be efforts to void it, but it's a step in the right direction.

  • SanFranciscoJim

    I am pleased that the Massachusetts courts have had the foresight to grant normalcy to gay couples. Rather than granting a "special right", as the ultraconservative right-wing would have people believe (and I expect they will try and fight this decision up to the Supreme Court), Massachusetts has taken a giant stride forward in allowing its gay population to integrate seamlessly into the rest of society. For the first time, this ruling allows the gay community to legally recognize their partnerships and enjoy rights and privileges the rest of society takes for granted. Bravo!!

  • kgfreeperson

    The state supreme court of Massachusetts did not "back gay marriage." It ruled that barring same-sex couples from the benefits of civil marriage was "unconstitutional." In other words, it says "change the constitution or change barring same-sex couples from the benefits of civil marriage. I must confess I was a little taken aback by the tone of that article--including the quotes around unconstitutional. What's that about? At any rate, I will keep my fingers crossed that this is a step forward and not just a rallying point for the many who think same-sex couples should be second-class couples. I'm happy about the ruling but I'm not looking forward to the ramping up of what I consider hate speech.

  • Sentinel

    Anything which is different from mainstream is going to cause people to react. History has shown that people who live in a very restrictive box of belief systems, will always be judgmentary and behave in the negative to anything that doesn't fall into their standards, and sometimes they are unloving and cruel. Strange that so much of this comes from the early English rule, and they are notorious for their sexual escapades behind closed doors. Even now, we hear rumors that a Royal may have dallied in an inappropriate way, but only with respect to a servant, feeling co-erced by a person in high position.

    However, it is something to consider that relationships of even married couples sometimes include "others". Sex is a way to express and fulfill our needs as a human being, and if all are adults they can decide that for themselves. I don't believe that people are evil because they find love and comfort from one of their own gender. It's really none of my concern. I am not gay, but I have always felt that they are very much a part of who we are here on this earth. History supports that many of our leaders and great people had to hide away their desires and live life in secret. How comforting it must be now for those who have had to hide and accept labels, and feel guilty and live secret lives. They can come forward and be true to their heart.

    The reason why it is so important for those who choose someone to love, who is of the same gender, to have recognition, is because the ways the laws are set up in this country. They have been so black and white, that they have neglected to show love and compassion for those in a commited relationship. In that way, if they choose marriage, it shows publicly that commitment, and also allows them to get health insurance benefits that have long been denied.

    I hope that other states will see how important this is, and that "sex" plays such a small part in who a person really is. Narrowmindedness belongs to those who cannot see past rigid rules and restrictions. We are all human beings first, and we should attempt to show respect and dignity wherever possible, and love and compassion in all matters.

    Just mho here.

  • Emma

    Here's a quote from the Human Right's Campaign:

    Key results from the ruling:

    1. Same sex couples in Massachusetts who choose to obtain a civil marriage license will now be able to: -Visit each other in the hospital, without question;
    -Make important health care and financial decisions for each other;
    -Have mutual obligations to provide support for each other;
    -File joint state tax returns, and have the burden and advantages of the state tax law for married couples; and
    -Receive hundreds of other protections under state law.

    2. Churches and other religious institutions will not have to recognize or perform ceremonies for these civil marriages. This ruling is not about religion; it?s about the civil responsibilities and protections afforded through a government-issued civil marriage license.

    3. By operation of law, all married couples should be extended the more than 1,000 federal protections and responsibilities administered at the federal level. Because no state has recognized civil marriage for same-sex couples in the past, the so-called Defense of Marriage Act has not yet been challenged in court.

    4. Other states and some businesses may legally recognize the civil marriages of same-sex couples performed in Massachusetts the same way they treat those of opposite-sex couples.

    The Boston-based Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) brought the case on behalf of seven gay and lesbian couples after they were denied civil marriage certificates solely because they were same-sex couples.

    "GLAD and Mary Bonauto, its leading lawyer, did an outstanding job arguing this case with professionalism and passion. This tremendous victory would not have been possible without their exemplary efforts," said Birch.

    The Human Rights Campaign signed onto a "friend of the court" brief in Goodridge to support and further explain the case for extending civil marriage rights to same-sex couples under the state constitution. A variety of other civil rights organizations, religious groups, child welfare experts, family and legal historians and others also either signed or filed briefs of their own in favor of extending civil marriage laws to same-sex couples.

    For the full text of HRC's press release, please visit:

  • SheilaM

    YEA Mass

  • Gretchen956

    This is great news. I too can see it getting hateful when the right wing get ahold of their members and fill them with hate speech and scary stories. It looks, at first glance, that this is separating the issue of the "civil protections" under law, which should be available to all without discrimination; from the religious institution of marriage. There is a distinction. Many of us that advocate for civil unions do so for this reason. If my partner chooses to go under my medical and dental plan, she has to file taxes on it as income. If either of us have to go into intensive care, we are not allowed (not related). And, if (as in Florida and Oregon) we wish to maintain our rights to choose to continue or terminate life support to a dying partner, the family can step in and overturn the decision. Not to mention inheritance, and a myriad of other issues.

    So each of these tiny steps is progress..... I'll really believe this when we can file jointly on our income taxes!


  • ignored_one

    Further to this:,1282,-3403592,00.html

    Public Divided on Whether Gays Can Change

    Tuesday November 18, 2003 9:46 PM


    Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The public is evenly divided on whether gays and lesbians can alter their sexual orientation, with white evangelicals the most likely to think homosexuals can change, a poll released Tuesday found.

    In another finding, most Americans, 55 percent, said they felt homosexuality was a sin, while 33 percent did not. Nine in 10 highly committed white evangelicals and nearly three-quarters of black Protestants said homosexual behavior was sinful.

    ``Evangelicals are far more likely to say homosexuals can change, Catholics and mainline Protestants fall in the middle and more secular people are most likely to say they cannot change,'' said Scott Keeter, a pollster with the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, which conducted the survey on attitudes about homosexuals.

    The poll's figures: Overall, 42 percent said homosexuals can change, 42 percent said they cannot and 16 percent said they didn't know. Among evangelicals it was 65-22 saying homosexuals can change; among Catholics and mainline Protestants it was 57-29 and 48-31, respectively, saying they cannot.

    The poll also found that opposition to gay marriage has grown since midsummer, with 32 percent favoring it and 59 percent opposing it. In July, 53 percent said they opposed gay marriage.

    Massachusetts' highest court ruled Tuesday that same-sex couples are legally entitled to wed under the state constitution, but stopped short of allowing marriage licenses to be issued to the couples who challenged a ban on gay marriage. The Supreme Judicial Court's 4-3 ruling ordered the state Legislature to come up with a solution within 180 days.

    The poll reinforced the finding that religious attitudes sharply affect feelings about gays. Those with a high level of religious commitment oppose gay marriage by 80 percent to 12 percent.

    Four in five of those who say they would vote to re-elect President Bush oppose gay marriage, while those who prefer that a Democrat win the presidency are evenly split on the question.

    Younger adults were far more likely to say they favor gay marriage, while those between ages 20 and 30 were about evenly split. Opposition grew steadily as people's age increased. Among those in their 60s and 70s, opponents outnumber supporters by more than 4-to-1.

    Americans with college degrees were closely divided on the question of gay marriage, with 49 percent opposed and 44 percent in favor of allowing that option.

    Roughly half those polled said they have unfavorable opinions of gays and lesbians. But the survey found widespread opposition to discrimination against homosexuals.

    The poll of 1,515 adults was taken Oct. 15-19 by the Pew Research Center on behalf of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.


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