Gay-marriage advocates hope to repeal old law
Posted on July 14, 2008
Filed Under Gay News Blog
State lawmakers are expected to vote next week on repealing a 1913 law that prevents out-of-state gay and lesbian couples from getting married in Massachusetts, reigniting a divisive debate on an issue that has stirred passions and put the state in the national spotlight.
The Senate is expected to take up the legislation Tuesday, and the House will follow shortly afterward, according to several lawmakers. House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi and Senate President Therese Murray favor the repeal, but their support on such a hot-button social issue does not guarantee that rank-and-file lawmakers will follow.
Advocates of same-sex marriage rights said they are hopeful the repeal will pass, given the support from the legislative leadership and from Governor Deval Patrick, whose position is much more sympathetic than that of Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican who was a staunch opponent of gay marriage.
“This is extraordinarily significant,” said Arline Isaacson, cochairwoman of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus. “If we get the 1913 law repealed, it brings us one very important step closer to full equality.”
Several lawmakers, though, have long opposed same-sex marriage and plan to fight the repeal.
“I have a problem with it; I’ve always had a problem with it,” said Representative James R. Miceli, a Democrat from Wilmington who has consistently voted against gay marriage. “I just feel that it would be hypocritical if I turned around and said, ‘Fine, you can come here and get married, and we’ll recognize it.’ “
Proponents expect their effort to repeal the law to be divisive, but not as much as a constitutional amendment last year that would have defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. That measure, which needed a two-thirds majority, was rejected, 151 to 45.
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