Officials say NM gays can marry in Massachusetts

Posted on 26 Jul 2007 at 4:45pm
By Jay Lindsay AP

Rhode Island is only other state whose gay residents can wed in Massachusetts; ruling reverses executive order by former governor



Mitt Romney

BOSTON Gay couples from New Mexico can marry in Massachusetts because their home state has not explicitly banned same-sex marriage, according to Massachusetts records officials.

New Mexico joins Rhode Island as the only states whose gay residents are allowed to marry in Massachusetts, the only state that allows same-sex marriage.

In a July 18 notice, city and town clerks were instructed by Stanley Nyberg, Massachusetts’ Registrar of Vital Records, to give marriage licenses to gay couples from New Mexico.

“Effective immediately, Intentions to Marry completed by same sex couples who seek licenses to marry in Massachusetts may be accepted,” the notice read. “Under applicable Massachusetts law …, New Mexico’s laws do not prohibit marriage between parties.”

It was not immediately clear if any gay couples from New Mexico have ever been married in Massachusetts. In February, two measures that would have banned same-sex marriage in New Mexico were killed when a House committee tabled them.

Rhode Island has not decided whether to recognize gay marriages from Massachusetts, though the state’s attorney general recommends they should.

The marriages of more than 170 couples from New York were deemed valid because they got married in Massachusetts prior to a New York appeals court ruling in 2006 that banned same-sex marriages.

Massachusetts began marrying same-sex couples in 2004. Gov. Mitt Romney then prohibited out-of-state couples from marrying in the state, citing a 1913 law that bars Massachusetts from marrying couples who would be prevented from marrying in their home states.

In March 2006, the state’s highest court ruled that gay couples from other states could not marry in Massachusetts if their home state expressly prohibited gay marriage.

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

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