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