CommunityPam's House Blend

MA Sen. Wilkerson on the Repeal of the 1913 Laws

UPDATE:  The bill has also passed the MA House!  It now heads for the governor’s desk, certain to be signed.  

Couples wishing to marry in MA are encouraged to check out the website of GLAD, Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders for how-to information.  You can also call the town clerk’s office in the town you plan on applying for your license.


Last week, the Massachusetts Senate debated and then voted to repeal the “1913 Law”.  This is the law that prevents out-of-state same-sex couples from going to MA to marry if that marriage would be void or prohibited in their state of residence.

During the debate, senate minority leader Richard Tisei (R- [yes, R!] Wakefield) stood up to express his support for the repeal.  He then asked Senator Dianne Wilkerson (D-Boston) to provide a history of the 1913 law.  

Watch the video of the debate by clicking here (I couldn’t get it to embed…).  Some of the key points Wilkerson made are below the fold.Please note that the following are my paraphrases, not direct quotes.

  • The 1913 law resulted from a national backlash after heavyweight boxer Arthur John (Jack) Johnson, who was black, married a succession of white women.  Thus the law was born from bigotry.

  • Gov. Schwarzenegger recently invited all American s-s couples to come to CA to wed. Sen. Wilkerson recognized that while there will be distinct economic benefits for MA if some of those couples go to MA instead, justice is the primary reason to repeal the 1913 laws, not state economics.

  • Mildred Loving was arrested in VA 1958 with her husband for the crime of having a mixed-race marriage.  The ensuing legal case led to the landmark Supreme Court decision stating that antimiscagentation laws are unconstitutional.  Mrs. Loving was a very private person, and only provided one interview after the untimely early death of her husband.  That was last year.  In that one statement, she defined the freedom to marry as the purview of all people, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, race or religion.

    Following Sen. Wilkerson’s remarks, Sen. Cynthia Stone Creem stood in support of the repeal.  In her capacity as Chair of the Revenue Committee, she felt it her duty to report that the repeal would have a distinctly positive effect on the tourism industry in MA.  However, like Sen. Wilkerson, she was emphatic in her contention that economics was a secondary concern, that repealing this discriminatory law was simply the moral thing to do.  Interestingly, she also noted how she has been discriminated against by other people codifying their religious belief into law.

    The final senator in the video is unfortunately unknown to me.  However, he made the great point that it is impossible to discriminate “just a little”.  We either do, or we don’t.  He asked that we don’t.

    The bill passed on a voice vote, and is now awaiting action in the House (probably tuesday).  The legislative session ends this week, so the clock is ticking.  Governor Patrick has expressed his willingness to sign the repeal if it makes it to his desk.

    Note that the video was posted by none other than Brian Camenker of the hate group MassResistance (I won’t link).  He may be nuts, but he’s good at preserving the public record (even if edited).

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    MA Sen. Wilkerson on the Repeal of the 1913 Laws

    UPDATE:  The bill has also passed the MA House!  It now heads for the governor’s desk, certain to be signed.  

    Couples wishing to marry in MA are encouraged to check out the website of GLAD, Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders for how-to information.  You can also call the town clerk’s office in the town you plan on applying for your license.


    Last week, the Massachusetts Senate debated and then voted to repeal the “1913 Law”.  This is the law that prevents out-of-state same-sex couples from going to MA to marry if that marriage would be void or prohibited in their state of residence.

    During the debate, senate minority leader Richard Tisei (R- [yes, R!] Wakefield) stood up to express his support for the repeal.  He then asked Senator Dianne Wilkerson (D-Boston) to provide a history of the 1913 law.  

    Watch the video of the debate by clicking here (I couldn’t get it to embed…).  Some of the key points Wilkerson made are below the fold. (more…)

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