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May 17 marks
two-year anniversary of marriage equality in Massachusetts

May 17 marks
two-year anniversary of marriage equality in Massachusetts


More than 8,000 gay and lesbian couples have tied the knot in Massachusetts since same-sex marriage became legal on May 17, 2004.

As local and national leaders plot its demise, same-sex marriage in Massachusetts--and the 8,100 gay and lesbian couples who so far have taken advantage of it--celebrated a sweet second anniversary on Wednesday.

Gay rights activists plan to celebrate the historic day by delivering flowers to state legislators in Boston who are planning a July 12 vote on a proposed initiative petition that could amend the state constitution to declare same-sex marriage illegal.

In light of the anniversary, many gays and lesbians have grown apathetic, according to some in the state.

"A lot of people...don't really understand, " said Patricia Griffin, a retired professor who married her wife in 2004, to the Boston Republican. "They think we have the right, that people are safe and nothing will happen. It could be taken away."

Nationally, the Federal Marriage Amendment--the push to amend the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman--is expected to be brought up Thursday in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The measure is being pushed by Republican senators Bill Frist and Wayne Allard in a widely believed effort to mobilize their conservative base to get out to the polls for November's midterm elections.

"With gas prices hitting $3 a gallon, millions living without health care, a broken immigration system, and an endless war in Iraq, Congress should be helping make America stronger, not weaker, by trying to put discrimination in the United States Constitution," said Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese in a statement.

While states like Vermont and California offer civil unions and domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian couples, Massachusetts remains the only state with marriage equality.

Gay couples swarmed altars immediately after Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage two years ago, but according to numbers from the Department of Public Health, the number of same-sex marriages dropped sharply from that time. The decision to legalize same-sex marriage in the Massachusetts came from a state supreme judicial court decision in November 2003 that stated it was unconstitutional to deny gay couples to right to marry, and the court stayed its ruling until May 17 of the following year. (The Advocate)

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