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court delays ruling on out-of-state same-sex marriages

Massachusetts
court delays ruling on out-of-state same-sex marriages

The state's highest court has waived a self-imposed deadline for ruling on whether same-sex couples from other states can marry in Massachusetts. The supreme judicial court in Boston heard arguments on October 6, 2004, about a 1913 state law that says out-of-state couples cannot get married in Massachusetts if their home states do not recognize such unions. Last Thursday the court notified lawyers that it would not issue a decision within the 130-day window, according to the court's Web site. Lawyers noted that the court also went past its deadline in its historic 4-3 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in 2003. "It could be due to a multiplicity of issues, including the court's own backlog," Mark D. Mason, president-elect of the Massachusetts Bar Association, told The Republican of Springfield. Eight gay couples from surrounding states, all of whom were denied marriage licenses in Massachusetts, are challenging the 1913 law. If the court strikes it down, same-sex couples from across the country could wed in Massachusetts and potentially demand marriage rights at home. (AP)

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