Friday, June 15, 2007

Massachusetts Votes to Protect Equality

The Massachusetts state legislature just voted to turn down a proposed ban on gay marriage.

(CBS) BOSTON Massachusetts lawmakers have blocked a proposed constitutional
amendment banning gay marriage from reaching voters.

The 45-151 vote means Massachusetts remains the only state in the nation to
allow same-sex couples to marry. The question needed the approval of 50 of 200
lawmakers in consecutive sessions to advance to the 2008 ballot. It got the
first approval at the end of last session in January with 62 votes.

It's a stunning victory for gay marriage advocates and a devastating blow
to efforts to reverse a historic 2003 court ruling legalizing same-sex

As the tally was announced, the halls of the Statehouse erupted in cheers
and applause from supporters of gay marriage gathered outside the House
chambers."We're proud of our state today, and we applaud the Legislature for
showing that Massachusetts is strongly behind fairness," said Lee Swislow,
executive director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.

"Equality for gay and lesbian citizens has enriched our state, made our
communities stronger, and our families happier," Swislow said. "The vote today
was the triumph of time, experience, and understanding over fear and

A complaint I see from the anti-gay marriage side is that this move won't allow the people of Mass. to have their say. But I believe they did. Last November, the citizens of Massachusetts voted a lot of anti-gay marriage legislators out of office and replaced them with pro-gay marriage ones. Plus, they voted in a pro-gay marriage governor. So today's vote actually reflected the will of the voters.

And I ran across an interesting story about one of the legislators who changed his mind for the 2nd vote and voted against the ban. Apparently he was being pulled in two directions:

In one corner of Representative Paul Kujawski's mind is the Rev. Michael
Roy, a friend and confidant who stood by the lawmaker after he was arrested for
drunken driving three years ago and who is urging him to continue supporting a
proposed ban on same-sex marriage to preserve the sanctity of heterosexual

In the other corner are Sharon and Deb, a lesbian couple from Kujawski's
district who recently met him and hope to change his mind. They told him how
hard it was to come out to their conservative Catholic families and community
and how winning the right to marry, after more than 20 years together, seemed to
solidify their union.

Right there is proof that gays being allowed to marry is a positive thing. And here's more:

Rep. Paul Kujawski, D-Webster, also changed his vote. Kujawski said he
voted against the proposed referendum today after he met with many same-sex
couples and concluded they want the freedom to enjoy life with one another, just
like traditional couples.

"They didn't ask to be born that way," Kujawski said. "They are who
they are."

And finally I wanted to point out a quote from Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

“Today’s vote is a reaffirmation of Massachusetts’ proud record of choosing
equality over discrimination. For the past three years, loving and committed
same-sex couples have enjoyed the equal right to marry in Massachusetts. Despite
the doomsday predictions of opponents of equality, the sky hasn’t fallen, and no
one’s marriage has been threatened. To the contrary, the institution of marriage
has been strengthened as same-sex couples and their families have enjoyed the
equal rights and protections they deserve under Massachusetts law. The
Legislature’s action ensures that they will continue to enjoy those equal rights
and protections.”
So congragulations for the Mass. state legislature for coting to protect marriage freedom. God Bless America!

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