The Governor of Massachusetts yesterday signed a bill that will allow gay and lesbian couples from other states to marry in Massachusetts.
It is now the second state in the US that has no residency requirement for gay and lesbian couples who want to marry. The other is California.
“In five years now, the sky has not fallen, the earth has not opened to swallow us all up, and more to the point, thousands and thousands of good people, contributing members of our society, are able to make free decisions about their personal future, and we ought to seek to affirm that every chance we can,” said Governor Deval.
A Democrat, he is the first black Governor of Massachusetts.
In June he spoke of his pride in his daughter when she publicly came out as a lesbian. He then took part in Boston’s Pride parade with her.
A 1913 law has affected same-sex couples since a Massachusetts court ruling in 2003 legalised same-sex marriage in the state.
Then-Governor Mitt Romney revived the 1913 law in order to weaken the impact of the state’s Supreme Court ruling that gay and lesbian couples should have equal rights to civil marriage.
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Originally the law barring unions by out of state residents grew out of the national outrage over the interracial marriage of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson.
A report from the Massachusetts Office of Housing and Economic Development forecasts a $111 (£55.4m) million windfall to the state should same-sex couples from other states be allowed to marry in the state.
The report also predicts the creation of 330 jobs and an additional $5 million in tax revenue over three years.
Massachusetts is one of only two states to officially recognise full marriage equality for same-sex couples.
In 2007, the state legislature defeated a measure, following the historic Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling legalising marriage, to amend the state’s constitution to ban such unions.
The effort to defeat the measure was led, in large part, by Governor Patrick.
“He didn’t know I was gay then,” Katherine Patrick, 18, said in her “coming out interview” with gay paper Bay Windows.
“So, for someone so publicly to fight for something that doesn’t even affect him was just like, ‘That’s my dad,’ you know?
“That’s all I could think. I was very, very proud to be part of this family, and this state in general.”