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Massachusetts legislature blocks statewide vote on same-sex marriage ban

[JURIST] Massachusetts lawmakers on Thursday voted against allowing a statewide vote on a proposed constitutional amendment [text] defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. A total of 50 votes were needed to advance the amendment, but only 45 lawmakers supported the proposal, with 151 voting against. Unlike previous joint sessions on the issue, there was no debate. Advocates of the proposal [JURIST report] collected and delivered more than 170,000 signatures to the secretary of state demanding the right to vote on the legality of same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive].

In 2003, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage [Globe timeline] with the state high court's decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health [text; JURIST report]. More than 8,500 gay couples have been married in Massachusetts since May 2004. AP has more.

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