UPDATE: Massachusetts Gay Marriage Ban Defeated

UPDATE: By a vote of 151-45, the proposed amendment banning gay marriage has been defeated in the Massachusetts Legislature!


Here’s the scene outside the Massachusetts statehouse as activists on both sides of the gay marriage debate await a vote by the constitutional convention scheduled to convene at 1 pm.

MassstatehouseMassachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and others have been furiously lobbying lawmakers in an effort to get them to vote against allowing a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage on the 2008 ballot.

The Associated Press says that the “push seemed to be gaining ground” with some lawmakers reconsidering their previous votes in favor of the amendment. The measure must receive 50 votes in two consecutive sessions to be approved and already won approval in January on the last session’s final day.

Said Patrick: “We’re working right down to the wire.”

Supporters of the ban were working fervently as well. Said Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute: “When we hear rumors of possible changes of votes we contact that lawmaker immediately. Every indication we have so far is that our votes are holding firm. These are people of principle who believe in the people’s right to define marriage.”

Gay marriage has been legal in Massachusetts since 2004.


  1. Brian says

    “the people’s right to define marriage”? Since when are gays and lesbians not “people”?

    The tyranny of the majority. This is why civil liberties should never, EVER, be up for popular vote.

  2. JK says

    Having just walked by the statehouse and spoken a friend protesting at the pro-marriage demonstration, I was prepared for the worst. I am thrilled to discover the vote was decisively for the pro marriage side. Here in MA, this is a non-issue for the great majority of the people; only a few right wingers, many from out of town are keeping this fight going. I hope they will now just go work for the Huckabee or Brownback campaigns and leave us alone. I was also struck by the elderly appearance of the anti marriage protesters; I would say the average age is 60+, while the pro marriage side was young and vibrant. Gay marriage is the present here and the future in the rest of the US.

  3. Zeke says


    THANK YOU Deval Patrick, Freedom to Marry, all the people who worked so hard in MA and across the country, the 151 lawmakers and the people of Massachusetts!!!!

    The times they are a changin; there’s something blowin in the wind!

  4. John says

    Governor Patrick should be commended for personally lobbying lawmakers before this vote. This couldn’t have happened without him.

    And shame on you for forcing this showdown and keeping the status of gay couples in limbo for the last 4 years, Mitt Romney.

  5. jk says

    That is twisted. 151 to 45 and it would have only taken 50 votes to put it on the ballot? Clearly the majority supports the the current law. How can the papers call this a narrow victory?

  6. tjc says

    It’s a “narrow” victory because the margin was 5 votes. It’s not a majority vote — it’s 25% of the Legislature (50) are all that’s needed to advance an initiative petition to the ballot. It’s also narrow because we lost last time by about the same amount — 56 votes to 140-something. The fact that we got 151 “no” votes is also very important — if we’d gotten under that, the opponents would say they’d won and the victory was stolen from them because of empty seats or no-shows. They’ll whine anyway, but it will seem even more groundless with 151 opposed to the amendment.

  7. ReasonBased says

    This is great, what will now the christian biggots say: “Activist legislators!?”

    So now that we have won, let’s try to get gays to be actually interested in forming committed relationships rather than cruising for a quickie on manhunt. I somehow don’t see too many people here in New York who can even bring themselves to utter the R-word.

  8. adamblast says

    Jeez, color me incredibly relieved. Ready-to-cry relieved.

    For two years now, I’ve been secretly scared shitless that they’d take it away from us again.

  9. Jersey says

    Chris, apparantly the soonest they could try would be 2012. And as for reasonbased, there have been 8,500 gay couples in Mass who have already married. That’s a pretty impressive number of committed couples, step out of the gay ghetto and realize we are a very diverse bunch of people, some sex crazed of course, others crazed about starting families.

  10. Zeke says

    CHRIS, my understanding is that MA law does not allow for a voter initiated amendment that fails cannot be brought back for three years.

    If they do try it again, and get the required signatures (not likely), the earliest it could go to the voters would be 2012.


    In Massachusetts it’s OVER for the fundies!

    Now the fundies will use this to scare their sheep to raise millions/billions of dollars for their anti-gay agenda and to push, once again, for a federal marriage amendment.

    Bottom line, it’s more important than ever to elect gay supportive politicians.

  11. Zeke says

    Wow, that first sentence went off the tracks.

    I meant to say, “…my understanding is that MA law does not allow for a voter initiated amendment, that fails, to be tried again for three years.”

  12. Timothy says

    One nice thing about the vote is that it wasn’t partisan. Many Republicans voted for equality – and some Democrats voted against us.

    Maybe some day supporting equality for all citizens will not be a partisan issue for the whole nation and people can be free to vote based on issues surrounding economic policies or taxes or qualifications or abilities without worrying about electing bigotry.

  13. Stephen says

    I am glad that same sex couples living in Massachusetts are afforded the same benefits of married couples.

    However, while the legislature may have re-affirmed “gay marriage” in Massachusetts, in the big picture, the vote weakens the integrity of a state, a nation. What will be concocted next?
    Just as “transitioning” has now been substituted for trans-gendered, “gay” has long replaced homosexual as its moniker.
    Because calling one a homosexual was too offensive, too derogatory a term (and replaced with “gay”) so to, has “gay marriage” become the moniker for what rightfully is a domestic partnership or a civil union. While it may be publiclly accepted, privately, many of those same people hold a different belief.

    It is a slippery slope when a nation allows itself to become homogenized.

  14. Zeke says

    Sorry Stephen, as much as it kills you, and thrills me, the married gay couples in Massachusetts are MARRIED not “married”. They are not getting the same benefits as married couples THEY ARE married couples and no amount of your whining, crying or bloviating can change that.

    Massachusetts is just the first step. Many states will follow and sooner than you think. EVERY poll, in EVERY region of the country (even the South) shows that the movement is clearly in the direction of marriage equality. People, with outdated views like yours, are dying off by the millions and being replaced by a younger, more progressive, more gay positive, more equality minded generation AND they VOTE.

    As if the news from Massachusetts didn’t make me happy enough, just the thought that this distresses you the same way that integration and multi face water fountains and open seating on buses distressed my racist, ranting Mississippi grandfather is just icing on the cake.

    Like he and George Wallace, your ignorance, arrogance and intransigence will leave you as a relic of history that people look back on with pity.

    It’s time to stop standing defiantly in the doorway of progress and equality Mr. Wallace, um I mean Stephen.

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