opponents on Thursday withdrew a federal lawsuit that
sought $5 million from Massachusetts lawmakers who blocked a
vote in November on a proposed constitutional
amendment outlawing same-sex marriage. The decision to
withdraw the lawsuit comes two days after lawmakers in
Boston voted to advance the amendment. The measure
still needs approval in the next legislative session before
it can appear on the ballot in 2008.
VoteOnMarriage.org filed the lawsuit in December
against 109 lawmakers who voted to adjourn the
legislature without considering the amendment. It
claimed the lawmakers violated supporters' rights to free
speech, rights to petition the government, and due
process under the law. The lawsuit sought $500,000 for
the cost of the group's legal battles and another $5
million in punitive damages.
Glen Lavy, a lawyer representing
VoteOnMarriage.org, said there was no reason to pursue
the case ''now that the legislature has chosen to do the
right thing and vote.''
The decision also follows the threat of a
countersuit by 14 of 109 lawmakers. The lawmakers sent
a letter to the group on December 29 calling the suit
frivolous and giving them 21 days to withdraw it. (AP)