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Rights group sues to prevent Massachusetts marriage ballot initiative

[JURIST] Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) [advocacy website] filed a complaint [PDF text; GLAD press release] Tuesday against Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly [official website], seeking to overturn Reilly's September decision [DOC text] to allow a ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] to proceed. GLAD argues that according to the state constitution, ballot initiatives cannot overturn a previous court decision, a power delegated exclusively to the state legislature. The complaint cites the landmark ruling in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health [opinion text], which ended state discrimination against gay couples, as decided law, which therefore cannot be the subject of a ballot initiative. After Reilly upheld the legality of the ballot initiative [JURIST report] last September, proponents collected [JURIST report] over 124,000 certified signatures, far more than the 64,000 required for the issue to appear on the 2008 ballot. The proposed constitutional amendment [DOC text] reads: "When recognizing marriages entered into after the adoption of this amendment by the people, the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall define marriage only as the union of one man and one woman." AP has more.

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