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Efforts Underway to Repeal 1913 Massachusetts Marriage Law

Some state lawmakers and gay marriage advocates are hoping to repeal a 1913 law that in 2004 was used to prevent out-of-state gay and lesbian couples from traveling to Massachusetts to be legally married:

Cape_cod"The 1913 statute prevents Massachusetts from sanctioning marriages that are not legal in the state where the couple lives. The law was enacted in part to prevent interracial couples from evading their own state's ban by traveling to Massachusetts to marry. It was a little-used and rarely enforced law until opponents used it to prevent out-of-state gay couples from getting married in Massachusetts after the state legalized same-sex marriage in 2004."

Both the Senate and the House are expected to take up the issue as early as next week. With California as an example, many likely see the economic benefits as an impetus to repeal the law:

"Removing the law would put Massachusetts on par with California, where a court ruled in May that gay marriage was legal for all couples, including those who live out of state. In May, Governor David Paterson of New York directed all state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages in other states, including Massachusetts and California."

Said Governor Deval Patrick's spokesperson: "The governor supports the repeal of the law and will sign it if passed."

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  1. Does this mean that a couple from California or New York can get married in Mass? Or do they block all out of state marriages?

    Posted by: Cameron | Jul 10, 2008 11:27:24 AM

  2. Right now you need to be a resident of the state of Mass. to marry there.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 10, 2008 12:11:13 PM

  3. That's not true, Anon.

    Current law in Massachusetts: If your home state will recognize the license (ie there's no law or constitutional amendment that bans marriage equality in those states), then residents of those states can currently get married here - including people from places as diverse as Rhode Island and (I think) New Mexico. It's a confusing law that demands more and more court cases to keep up with which states allow what, and when (for example, NY didn't before Gov Paterson, but now residents from that state should be accepted).

    Posted by: Ryan | Jul 10, 2008 9:11:48 PM

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