Group plans lawsuit to have marriage amendment put on Massachusetts ballot

Posted on 14 Dec 2006 at 7:23pm

BOSTON The group that wants to put on the 2008 ballot a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage plans to file a lawsuit against the 109 state lawmakers who decided to recess last month without taking a vote on the proposal. VoteOnMarriage.org has argued the members of the House and Senate shirked their constitutional duty by refusing to take a vote on the question. The proposed constitutional amendment would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Petitions supporting the question were signed by 170,000 people, but critics say civil rights should not be the subject of a majority vote.

In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to allow marriages among same-sex couples. Lawmakers are slated to reassemble on Jan. 2 the last day of the current session to consider the proposed amendment, but there is widespread speculation they will adjourn without action, effectively killing the amendment.

The proposed amendment needs to be approved in two consecutive legislative sessions to wind up on the 2008 statewide ballot.

The group said it will seek relief and damages in U.S. District Court.
VoteOnMarriage.org, as well as Gov. Mitt Romney, a supporter of the ballot question, have said they would seek a remedy that would force lawmakers to vote.

They also have asked the Supreme Judicial Court to either force a vote or order the question on the 2008 ballot. That case is pending.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 15, 2006

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