Celebrations outside of the Massachussets State House in Boston on June 14, 2007. A special convening of the Congress made a nationally historic vote to kill a referendum that would have placed the Gay Marriage issue on the ballot in 2008. Photography by Darren McCollester/Getty Images.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
The Boston Globe reported this morning that:
A proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage that had been advanced by social conservatives was soundly defeated today by a joint session of the Massachusetts Legislature by a vote of 45 to 151, eliminating any chance of getting it on the ballot in November 2008. At least 50 votes were needed to advance the measure. The vote came after House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi, Senate President Therese Murray and Governor Deval Patrick conferred this morning and concluded that they had enough votes to kill the proposal.
The three leaders, along with gay rights activists, spent the last several days intensely lobbying a dozen or more state representatives and state senators who had previously supported the amendment, but who had later indicated that they were open to changing their positions. Since fewer than 50 of the state’s 200 lawmakers supported the amendment, it will not appear on the 2008 ballot, giving gay marriage advocates a major victory in their battle with social conservatives to keep same-sex marriage legal in Massachusetts.
“In Massachusetts today, the freedom to marry is secure,” said a victorious Gov. Deval Patrick, who had lobbied lawmakers up until the final hours Thursday to kill the measure. As the tally was announced, the halls of the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston erupted in applause.
Just think about those numbers: With the final vote of 151 to 45, gay marriage opponents couldn’t even get 25% of the state legislators to support their amendment. One observer of this political event has stated, “That’s not a sea change in public opinion, that’s a tidal wave!”
Andrew Sullivan rejoices at The Atlantic Magazine:
“Yes, we have much more to do. Yes, we still have to win over those who see our loves as somehow destructive of the families we seek merely to affirm. Yes, we don’t have federal recognition of our basic civic equality. Yes, in many, many states, we have been locked out of equality for a generation, because of the politics of fear and backlash. But look how far we’ve come. From a viral holocaust to full equality – somewhere in America, in the commonwealth where American freedom was born. In two decades. This is history. What a privilege to have witnessed it.
It was driven above all by ordinary gay and lesbian couples and their families – not activists, not lobbyists, not intellectuals. Couples and their families. It was driven by a brutal, sudden realization that we were far more vulnerable than we knew. In the plague years, husbands reeled as they were denied access to their own spouses in hospitals, as they were evicted from their shared homes in the immediate aftermath of terrible grief, and refused access even to funerals by estranged and often hostile in-laws. This day is for them, for all those who were abused and maligned and cast aside because they loved another human being. It’s also for all the lesbian mothers who realized in the last two decades just how much contempt and hatred existed for their care of their own children, who lived in constant insecurity, or who, at best, had to endure erasure from visibility. It’s for gay families in Virginia today, denied dignity and protection multiple times over, enduring popular votes of meretricious contempt, and carrying on regardless, living their lives, building their relationships, cherishing their homes, caring for their kids, honoring their parents. And it’s for the countless, countless gay couples throughout human history – who for so long had to live lives in which their deepest longings and loves were denied, crushed, ignored or threatened.
The media didn’t much notice yesterday. But America changed. The world changed. And an ancient and deep wound began, ever so slightly, to heal.”
The Bee Gees: Massachusetts
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