posted on Feb, 4 2004 @ 10:56 AM
The high court of Massachusetts ruled Wednesday that only full, equal marriage rights for gay couples
- rather than civil unions - would be constitutional, erasing any doubts that the nation's first same-sex marriages could take place in the state
beginning in mid-May.
The court issued the opinion in response to a request from the state Senate about whether Vermont-style civil unions, which convey the state benefits
of marriage - but not the title - would meet constitutional muster.
"The history of our nation has demonstrated that separate is seldom, if ever, equal," the four justices who ruled in favor of gay marriage wrote in
the advisory opinion. A bill that would allow for civil unions, but falls short of marriage, makes for "unconstitutional, inferior, and
discriminatory status for same-sex couples."
The much-anticipated opinion sets the stage for next Wednesday's constitutional convention, where the Legislature will consider an amendment that
would legally define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Without the opinion, Senate President Robert Travaglini had said the vote
would be delayed.
The soonest a constitutional amendment could end up on the ballot would be 2006, meaning that until then, the high court's decision will be
Massachusetts law no matter what is decided at the constitutional convention.
[Edited on 5-2-2004 by SkepticOverlord]
[Edited on 5-2-2004 by Kano]