Same-sex marriage opponents in Massachusetts have proposed a ballot question that would invalidate gay and lesbian nuptials if their union would not be recognized in their home state.
Last month, Massachusetts’ Governor Deval Patrick, the state’s first black governor, whose daughter recently came out as a lesbian, approved repealing a 1913 statute that banned such out-of-state unions stating that the law had racial undertones.
Patrick’s decision made it possible for gay and lesbian couples throughout the country to marry in his state, where gay marriage has been legal since 2004.
Mass Resistance, a pro family political unit who have been identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre, are sternly opposed to the revoking of the law.
“The Legislature and the governor changed our marriage laws to please the well-connected minority and force a social experiment into other states that’s very offensive to a majority of the people, at least the way the votes have been going,” said Mass Resistance member Brian Camenker, who also accused Patrick of bowing to the “gay lobby.”
Camenker and his group are particularly outraged over Patrick’s emergency preamble attached to the repeal, which bypassed the standard 90-day waiting period and made the law effective immediately.
Typically, opponents would use the waiting period to collect signatures and build opposition.
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“The fact that this happened the way it happened just adds to the sense of sleaziness and underhandedness of the whole process,” Camenker said.
Mass Resistance needs to collect 32,000 signatures to add the question to November’s ballot.
Gay marriage advocates who had celebrated the repeal said they were disappointed but not surprised by the petition, according to the Associated Press.
Marc Solomon of human rights group Mass Equality said:
“I’ve learned that when it comes to equality for gay and lesbian people, the struggle is never over because there are certain people that are just strongly opposed to any rights for gay people.
“It’s never shocking; it is disappointing,”
The state constitution prohibits referendum questions on subjects that relate to religion, judges, the courts, particular localities of the commonwealth, state appropriations and certain provisions of the constitution’s Declaration of Rights.
Attorney General Martha Coakley has 14 days to review the proposed question.
Former Governor Mitt Romney had praised the 1913 law for its innate ability to protect the state from becoming the “Las Vegas of same-sex marriage.”