On May 17, 2004 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial court ruling in Goodridge went into effect and for the first time in the United States, same-sex couples could get married and have those marriage licences recognized by their city, county and state governments.
Today, three years later, the world has not ended. However, the right of same-sex couples to get married in Massachusetts is hanging by a thread… 365gay.com is reporting that a second vote to place a constitutional amendment on the November 2008 ballot is currently too close to call. A state constitutional amendment in Massachusetts requires only the support of 50 state legislators out of 200 sitting as a constitutional convention in two consecutive sessions of the state Legislature. On Janury 2, 2007 the state legislature passed the constitutional amendment with 61 votes in favor (and 132 votes opposed) on the very last day of the previous legislative session.
Today’s Boston Globe reports (“Legislative support slim for same-sex marriage ban“) that many Massachusetts politicans are doing their best to defeat the constitutional amendment:
A proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages is clinging to a razor-thin margin in the Legislature, as major political figures from Beacon Hill to Capitol Hill step up their attempts to kill the measure.
With a lawmaker who opposes same-sex marriage eyeing a new job and several others ready to switch their votes, Beacon Hill leaders and gay political activists are convinced that they are within at most four votes, and perhaps as few as three, of stopping the amendment from reaching the 2008 ballot and preventing a heated campaign that could draw energy and money away from the Democratic Party’s national efforts.
At least four lawmakers who had initially voted for the gay marriage ban in January have signaled that they may switch their votes, the sources said, giving same-sex marriage supporters growing confidence they can kill the measure and spare Massachusetts from becoming the epicenter once again in the country’s cultural wars during a presidential election. On May 17, 2004, just six months before the last presidential contest, the nation’s first legal same-sex weddings took place in Massachusetts, following a landmark state high court decision.
A final vote by the Legislature on the constitutional ban could take place as early as June 14, when lawmakers reconvene at a constitutional convention, but would be delayed by leaders if the votes are not yet in place.