poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Why gay marriage is a civil right

STEVE TRUSSELL and ELIZABETH SCHULTE report on the struggle for gay marriage in Massachusetts, and explain why this is a fight for all of us.

SAME-SEX COUPLES across Massachusetts will gather at county clerk’s offices to apply for marriage licenses on May 17. They are likely to get them--making Massachusetts the first state in U.S. history to issue legal licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
On Monday, a court-mandated 180-day waiting period will end, and the state government is under orders from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to grant the licenses--as a result of its landmark Goodridge decision last year. But as Socialist Worker goes to press a week before the deadline, groups of state lawmakers and religious organizations were hoping to win court injunctions to block the licenses from being issued--on the grounds that the Court overstepped its bounds in its ruling.

Gay rights activists and their supporters hope that if and when gay marriages become reality in Massachusetts, they will be hard to take away--even though a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, supported by both Republicans and Democrats, is in the works. People across the state will attend or know about same-sex marriage ceremonies in the coming months--giving increased visibility to gay and lesbian families that will likely win broader support for the cause of equal rights.

It’s also likely to add to the backlash--from the bigots who want to turn back the clock. Ever since the Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of gay marriage in November, antigay politicians have worked tirelessly to block the licenses.

Gov. Mitt Romney is continuing his attempts to win a stay of the ruling--to avoid "legal confusion" as the state legislature moves forward with a proposed amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as between "one man and one woman." At the very least, state officials are under Romney’s instructions to enforce a 1913 law designed to prevent interracial marriages--by denying licenses to couples from out of state.


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