Massachusetts senate votes to repeal controversial 1913 marriage law

[JURIST] The Massachusetts Senate passed a bill [SB918 text] Tuesday to repeal a 1913 law which bars people from marrying in Massachusetts if their own state would not recognize such a union. The statute [text] gained attention because it would have the effect of preventing most out-of-state same-sex couples from marrying in Massachusetts. Proponents of same-sex marriage, including MassEquality.org [advocacy website], have applauded efforts to repeal the 1913 law, heralding the move as a step toward increased equality in the state. Other advocates of the bill highlighted the potential boost to the state's economy as a result of allowing out-of-state same-sex couples to marry in Massachusetts, pointing to potential increases in catering, hotel, and tourism revenues. The bill now goes to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, which is expected to pass it. The New York Times has more. The Boston Globe has additional coverage.

In 2006, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts upheld the 1913 law [JURIST report] in Cote-Whitacre v. Department of Public Health [opinion, PDF]. Opponents of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts derided the passage of SB918, characterizing it as an unwelcome intrusion into the marriage policies of other states. Massachusetts Family Institute (MFI) [advocacy website] president Kris Mineau commented, "The Massachusetts Senate has no right to infringe on the internal issues of how other states define marriage, but that's exactly what they voted today to do." AP has more.

 

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