Friday, June 15, 2007

good news: marriage equality protected in Massachusetts

a continuing series noticing progress toward the Kingdom of God

On Thursday opponents of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts failed to get the 25% support of the legislature that would have placed a referendum on the issue before the voting public in 2008. Marriage between adult couples regardless of sex, legal in Massachusetts since May 2004, will remain legal. Although opponents of marriage equality still have legal options it's unlikely they would ever suceed in overturning the law, which would require a constitutioal amendment. 56% of Massachusetts citizens supported marriage equality (i.e. opposed the referendum) in an April poll and the trend is for increased support.

There are no good arguments against same-sex marriage. The suffering of gay couples living without the protections of marriage are obvious and immense. The purported suffering of straight couples if gays and lesbians marry or of the institution of marriage itself is simply non-existent. And our society as a whole suffers when we marginalize and suppress segments of our society who would contribute their gifts if allowed to do so.

Gay couples who receive the benefits of legal recognition by the state, then return benefits to the state in terms of sability, mutual care, and fuller, open participation in their neighborhoods and communities. Senator Gale D. Candaras, who voted for the referendum in its first hearing in January but then voted against it on Thursday changed her mind after listening to the testimnony of her constituents. One older woman after a same-sex couple moved in next door told Senator Candaras, "They help me with my lawn, and if there can't be marriage in Massachusetts, they'll leave and they can't help me with my lawn."

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