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Gay marriage vote postponed in Massachusetts

Gay marriage vote postponed in Massachusetts

In a move that could bode well for gay rights, the leader of the Massachusetts senate will delay a second vote by lawmakers on whether to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, The Boston Globe reports. Senate president Robert Travaglini says the legislature has more pressing concerns this spring, such as health care, the budget, and job creation, unnamed sources told the newspaper. Senate minority leader Brian P. Lees, a Republican, confirmed the decision to the Globe. "In informal discussions with the senate president, we both agree there are a number of other items of importance that should be discussed on the senate floor before we get to this issue," he said. "It could come up as late as fall." The proposed amendment would ban gay marriage but create a civil union system for same-sex couples. If lawmakers approve the amendment for a second time, it will go to voters in November 2006. A recent survey showed that 53% of Massachusetts voters say they want to see the amendment on the ballot, the newspaper reported. Even with a vote happening in the fall, it could be a close call for both sides. "We still don't have the votes, and we are still far from having the votes," Arline Isaacson, cochairwoman of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, told the newspaper. ''We also have not geared up fully. We fully expect a huge battle from the other side. It won't be an easy vote at all."

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