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BREAKING NEWS ~ Massachusetts legislature rejects gay marriage ban

[JURIST] AP is reporting that the Massachusetts state legislature [official website] has rejected a proposed state constitutional amendment [text] that would have banned gay marriage but allowed civil unions. Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage when the state's Supreme Judicial Court ruled [opinion; JURIST report] in 2003 that same-sex couples are entitled to wed. Massachusetts law requires that a proposed constitutional amendment be approved by the legislature in two consecutive sessions before being put to voters. AP has more.

3:55 PM ET - The vote by the state legislature represented a departure from its vote on the measure last year. In March 2004, lawmakers supported the amendment [JURIST report] by a 105-92 vote margin in the months following the Supreme Judicial Court's decision legalizing same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive]. Many lawmakers indicated their opinion on the issue had changed [JURIST report] since the previous vote, while others opposed civil unions in addition to same-sex marriage. Another proposed initiative [DOC text] to amend the constitution to bar both was recently upheld [JURIST report] by the state attorney general.

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