Gay R.I. couples can legally marry in Massachusetts!
Big development! This will send the fundie machine into overdrive.
A Superior Court judge in Massachusetts has ruled that gay couples from Rhode Island may marry in Massachusetts because RI’s constitution does not specify that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Up until this point, marriages of couples from other states performed in Massachusetts were not legal if the home state didn’t recognize same-sex marriages. (Boston.com):
Wendy Becker and Mary Norton of Providence, R.I., argued that a 1913 law that forbids out-of-state residents from marrying in Massachusetts if their marriage would not be permitted in their home state did not apply to them because Rhode Island does not specifically ban gay marriage.
Suffolk Superior Court Judge Thomas Connolly agreed.
“No evidence was introduced before this court of a constitutional amendment, statute, or controlling appellate decision from Rhode Island that explicitly deems void or otherwise expressly forbids same-sex marriage,” he ruled.
The ruling has no effect on whether Rhode Island or any other state must allow gay marriage.
State Attorney General Thomas Reilly said he would not appeal Connolly’s ruling.
Reilly’s office had argued that Rhode Island laws’ use of gender-specific terms — including both “bride” and “groom” — made it clear that the laws’ intent was to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
In a statement after Connolly’s ruling was issued, Reilly said appealing the decision “would be a waste of time and resources.”
“This case has always been about respecting the laws of other states,” Reilly said.
That 1913 law was enacted over inter-state recognition of interracial marriage. Some of the very reasons for opposing marriage equality for gays were used to justify that discrimination. It’s time for it to end everywhere.