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Gay Marriage Activism
Acct. ID: 190019
Notice ID: 181
Posted: February 5th., 2004
This Notice has been viewed 2197 times
Proclaimed by: Chris TishMaran
Proclaimed from: Pittsfield, Massachusetts
FEBRUARY 5th 2004
A Note to the Concerned
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
on February 4th, 2004,
has indeed ruled that "only full, equal marriage rights for gay couples -- rather than civil unions -- would be constitutional."
And starting on May 17, same-sex couples can get married in Mass., making it the only state in the nation to permit gay marriages.
The Court said,
"The dissimilitude between the terms 'civil marriage' and 'civil union' is not innocuous, " stated the opinion by four of seven justices of the state's Supreme Judicial Court. "It is a considered choice of language that reflects a demonstrable assigning of same-sex, largely homosexual, couples to second-class status."
"The Massachusetts Constitution, " the court said, "does not permit such invidious discrimination, no matter how well intentioned."
The majority opinion said, "we would do a grave disservice to every Massachusetts resident, and to our constitutional duty to interpret the law, to conclude that the strong protection of individual rights guaranteed by the Massachusetts Constitution should not be available to their fullest extent in the commonwealth because those rights may not be acknowledged elsewhere."
When the original decision was issued in November 2003, the 4-3 ruling set off a firestorm of protest across the country among politicians, religious leaders and
others opposed to providing landmark rights for gay couples to marry.
President Bush immediately denounced the decision and vowed to pursue legislation to protect the traditional definition of marriage. Christian leaders in the heavily Catholic state also pressed their parishioners
to oppose efforts to allow gays to marry!
Fueled in part by the November court ruling in Massachusetts, the Ohio Legislature approved one of the strictest bans on same-sex unions, barring state agencies from giving benefits to both gay and heterosexual domestic partners.
The Massachusetts case began in 2001, when seven gay couples from all over the state, went to their city and town halls to obtain marriage licenses. All were denied, leading
them to sue the state Department of Public Health, which administers the state's marriage laws.
A Suffolk County Superior Court judge threw out the case in 2002, ruling that nothing in state law gives gay couples the right to marry. The couples immediately appealed to the Supreme Judicial Court, which heard arguments in
March. The plaintiffs argued that barring them from marrying a partner of the same sex denied them access to an intrinsic human experience and violated basic constitutional rights.
During the past decade, Massachusetts' high court has expanded the legal parameters of family, ruling that same-sex couples can adopt children.
Massachusetts has one of the highest concentrations of gay households in the country at 1.3 percent of the total number of coupled households, according to the 2000 census. In California, 1.4 percent of the coupled households are occupied by same-sex partners. Vermont and New York also registered at 1.3 percent, while in Washington, D.C., the rate is 5.1 percent.
Opponents to Gay Marriages in Massachusetts are now bustling to ready for the The Constitional Convention, scheduled for February 11th, in several days.
Next Wednesday's constitutional convention (2/11/04) , where the Mass. Legislature will consider an amendment
that would legally define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
A constitutional amendment, though highly unlikely, could end up on the ballot by 2006. But until then, the high court's decision will be Massachusetts law no matter what is decided at the constitutional convention.
It is now more critical than ever that you contact your
legislators immediately, even if you have before, and let them know the following very specific message:
1. Vote AGAINST the H3190 (the Defence of Marriage Act) as it is proposed during the Constitutional Convention on February 11th. It is Bush's main weapon against gay people and in keeping the wrong people in power.
2. Oppose any amendment to H3190 that might be proposed during the Convention.
Massachusetts LEGISLATORS can be reached:
1. LOBBY DAY FEBRUARY 10------------------
Go the the MASS. State House and Lobby directly on
Tuesday Feb. 10th. with others.
2. Most of the western MA legislators have an in-district office hour, often on Fridays. Check your local cable access channel, the newspaper or
call the legislators office. In district hours are
notoriously poorly attended and they will therefore not leave you standing in the hall without meeting with you.
3. CALL: You can call the main switchboard at the
Massachusetts State House at 617-722-2000 and be connected to your legislator office.
Find out who your LEGISLATOR is at:
4. Send an EMAIL to your legislator.
Go to :
and the site will help you easily locate your legislator and send the email right from there
5. SPREAD THE WORD about how Gay Marriages should be acceptable everywhere!
Of course!!! you can help out even if not a Massachusetts resident.
Thank you for your time,
Please, help your fellow earthwalkers out.
Telephone: (617) 722-2000
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