Mass. lawmakers postpone vote on gay-marriage ban

Posted on 10 May 2007 at 8:26pm
By Associated Press

At least 25 percent would have to support proposed constitutional amenddment for it to make ballot next year

BOSTON Lawmakers on Wednesday postponed a vote on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Massachusetts until at least June 14.

As expected, a joint session of the House and Senate convened, but quickly recessed without a vote on the amendment.

Lawmakers were scheduled to reconvene in a joint session on June 14, although it’s unclear whether a vote will take place then because they could agree to postpone the debate again.

Senate President Therese Murray, D-Plymouth, presided over the session, which lasted less than a minute. Murray is opposed to the amendment and has said she would work to defeat it. But she also has said she would let the amendment come up for a vote.

Before it can reach the 2008 ballot, the proposed amendment needs the backing of 25 percent – or at least 50 lawmakers in two successive sittings of the Legislature.

It won approval in the previous Legislature in January.

Those opposed and in support of gay marriage agree that based on past votes and the stated positions of incoming lawmakers, about 57 support the amendment. There are 200 lawmakers in the House and Senate.

“We feel that our votes are very solid,” said Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, which collected signatures for the proposed amendment. “Let’s have a vote on June 14.”

Gay marriage advocates said they were pulling out all the stops to try to change votes to block the amendment from reaching the ballot, arguing the civil rights of minority groups should not be put to a public vote.

“We’ve made up some ground, but we need to make up more,” said Arline Isaacson, co-chair of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus.
“We’ve been working very hard.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, April 27, 2007.

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