Scroll To Top
World

Constitutional
convention set for September 14 in Massachusetts

Constitutional
convention set for September 14 in Massachusetts

Massachusetts state legislators voted Wednesday to hold a constitutional convention next month to debate a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would replace same-sex marriage in the state with Vermont-style civil unions. Members of the house and senate have already given initial approval to the amendment, but the state constitution requires them to approve identical language in two successive sessions before the amendment can be put before state voters. The supreme judicial court legalized same-sex marriage in Massachusetts in 2003, making it the only state in which such unions are legal. Opponents then proposed a constitutional amendment that would outlaw same-sex marriage but permit civil unions. "With today's announcement, it looks like September 14 will be the moment of truth for the legislature in Massachusetts," said Marty Rouse, campaign director of MassEquality."We urge legislators to reject the discriminatory Travaglini-Lees amendment, which would repeal marriage equality and replace it with separate-and-unequal civil unions.We ask legislators to ensure that the fundamental civil rights of gays and lesbians continue to be protected by the constitution and not determined by referendum." Legislative approval of the amendment has been thrown into doubt after some supporters in the initial vote announced they had changed their mind. The most recent is Rep. Anthony Petruccelli, a Democrat, who was quoted this week as saying he will not vote for the proposal despite supporting it last year. Petruccelli told Bay Windows, which features news of interest to gays and lesbians, that legalized same-sex marriage has "made strong unions among people who have not had the opportunity until that time to get married." The legislative session on Wednesday, itself technically a constitutional convention, lasted barely a minute. The motion to reconvene September 14 passed immediately on a voice vote. In June the Massachusetts Family Institute submitted a citizens' initiative petition that would amend the constitution to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Gov. Mitt Romney withdrew his initial support for a compromise and is backing the initiative petition. He said the compromise "muddied" the issue of same-sex marriage by legalizing civil unions. The initiative is now being reviewed, along with all other proposed 2006 ballot questions, by Atty. Gen. Tom Reilly. If it is approved, proponents would have to gather about 66,000 certified signatures to get it on the ballot. Currently, Vermont and Connecticut are the only states that have legalized civil unions for same-sex couples. (AP)

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories