June 14, 2007
Today in a historic vote, Massachusetts legislators rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned same sex marriage. Lawmakers voted 151 to 45 to reject the proposed amendment, which would have ended the three years of marriage equality that Massachusetts citizens have enjoyed.
In 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in the Goodridge case, and affirmed that same sex marriage could not be banned under the state's constitution. The Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), a Massachusetts based civil rights organization represented the plaintiffs, and spearheaded the efforts within the state to legalize same sex marriage. The following year the ruling took effect, allowing thousands of same sex couple to enjoy the rights that heterosexual couples long enjoyed.
A citizens initiative petition was soon organized by conservative political groups to amend the constitution so laws banning same sex marriage could be enacted. Under Massachusetts state law only 25% of the legislators have to vote in favor of the proposed amendment in two consecutive years for it to go to a referrendum vote. Last year 62 of the state's 200 legislators voted in favor of the proposed amendment, but it need a second vote this year to go forward. This years vote ended the discriminatory amendments chances of going forward.