Openly gay Massachusetts state senator Jarrett Barrios, who made an impassioned personal plea for marriage equality during the legislative debate earlier this year over a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, has exchanged vows with his longtime partner, Doug Hattaway, a former spokesman for Vice President Al Gore. The couple, who have been together 10 years, married Saturday at First Parish Church in Cambridge, in a wedding attended by an array of state and city officials. Same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts on May 17 under a court decision issued last November.
In February, during a marathon legislative debate about the state constitutional amendment, Barrios spoke of the barriers and confusion he faced when he and his partner took one of their two adopted sons to the emergency room. Hospital records listed Hattaway as the parent, and the nurse balked when Barrios could not prove a legal relationship to his son or partner. "I admit I was a new parent, and I thought as many new parents that he could die on my watch while I was fighting with a nurse over whether I was his parent or not," Barrios, a Cambridge Democrat, told his colleagues.
The legislature ultimately gave preliminary approval to a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage but legalize civil unions; the proposed amendment must be approved again during the next legislative session and then by voters in November 2006. Ironically, one of the sponsors of the amendment, senate president Robert Travaglini, a Boston Democrat, toasted Barrios and Hattaway at their reception. Spokeswoman Ann Dufresne said Monday that this was not an indication that Travaglini is backing away from the marriage ban.