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Breaking news from Massachusetts

The ban preventing out-of-state couples from marrying in Massachusetts has been upheld. If you cannot marry in your own state, then it’s not legal for you to do so in the Commonwealth. It’s a blow to civil equality for now. (365gay):

Gay and lesbian couples from outside Massachusetts were dealt a blow Thursday when the state’s highest court – the Supreme Judicial Court – let stand, at least for now, a 1913 law that prevents clerks from issuing marriage licenses to people from states where that marriage would be illegal.

The law was written when most states did not recognize interracial marriage. After the US Supreme Court ruled that laws barring interracial couples from marrying was illegal the Massachusetts statute fell into disuse.

After the Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 2003 that it was unconstitutional for the state to deny same-sex couples the right to marry Gov. Mitt Romney began using the old law to deny marriage licenses to couples from outside the Commonwealth.

The ruling today cited the fact that same-sex marriage is banned in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, so this allows Massachusetts to keep its ban in place regarding gay residents traveling to the Commonwealth to marry.

The next step, the court indicated, is to sent the case back to the MA Superior Court to review whether gay civil marriage is legal in Rhode Island and NY, where the matter is winding its way through the courts in those states.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding