Massachusetts Lawmakers Advance Proposed 2008 Ballot Measure That Would End Marriage Equality in Bay State

'Putting the Rights of a Minority Up for Popular Vote is Always Wrong',

Says National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Jan 02, 2007, 00:00 ET from National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Massachusetts
 legislators, in today's last session of the state's 2006 constitutional
 convention, approved a citizen-initiated proposed constitutional amendment
 to end marriage equality for same-sex couples as a first step toward
 putting the measure on the 2008 ballot. The vote was 134 (opposed) to 62
 (in favor). Although a significant majority of legislators voted against
 the proposed measure, only 50 votes are required to move a
 citizen-initiated proposal forward. The measure must be similarly approved
 in the constitutional convention in 2007 in order to be on the ballot in
     Statement by Matt Foreman, Executive Director
     National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
     "Today, a minority of Massachusetts legislators approved sending to the
 voters a mean-spirited constitutional amendment seeking to end marriage
 equality for same-sex couples in the Bay State.
     "It is always wrong to put the rights of a minority up for a popular
 vote and we are gratified that a strong majority of the Legislature voted
 against doing just that.
     "We stand with MassEquality and our other partners in Massachusetts,
 ready to work with them to defeat the amendment when it is next considered
 in the new legislative session. Marriage equality must and will be
 protected and preserved in Massachusetts."
     Since the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the state's
 constitution, the Declaration of Rights, required that same-sex couples be
 permitted to marry and those marriages began on May 17, 2004, approximately
 8,500 same-sex couples in the state have married. The Task Force has worked
 in partnership with MassEquality and other organizations on a wide range of
 activities to preserve marriage equality in Massachusetts, including making
 direct cash grants to MassEquality, serving as the lead organizer in a
 dozen major door-to-door voter canvasses and in filling hundreds of
 phone-banking shifts, and organizing and staffing a program involving
 nearly 3,000 volunteers to identify pro-gay voters.
     The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the
 political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)
 community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing
 broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT
 legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement.
 Our Policy Institute, the movement's premier think tank, provides research
 and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to
 counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we
 work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and
 identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington,
 D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami,
 Minneapolis and Cambridge.

SOURCE National Gay and Lesbian Task Force