A joint session of the Massachusetts Legislature voted 157-39 on Wednesday to defeat a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage while calling for legalizing civil unions.This is a much sweeter victory than anticipated as earlier reports showed a much tighter vote. The struggle over same-sex marriage in Massachusetts is pretty much final. Damn. This feels pretty damn good.
Gay activists and their supporters called today’s development a stunning victory and a clear signal that a majority of legislators — and most likely a majority of state residents — support gay marriage.
“We now have a solid and growing pro-marriage majority in the legislature,” said Marty Rouse, campaign director for Mass Equality, a state wide gay rights group.
Lately my wife and I have been thinking and talking a lot about place. It's highly likely that within the next year we'll be moving to my familial city of Pittsburgh, PA to go to go back to school, buy a house, and raise a family. If it weren't so important to us to have a lot extended family nearby (cough, family values, cough) we'd probably move to Massachusetts or Canada. My parents, grandmother, aunt, uncle and cousins live in Pittsburgh as do my wife's aunt and uncle and their children. However, if it weren't for the fact that Pennsylvania has second-parent adoption we couldn't even consider moving to to the state. Frankly, right now the importance of family ties has come into sharper focus as we are currently waiting to hear how much longer my wife's mother has to live. As much as conservatives like to think that they are "pro-family" it's apparent they have a very shallow appreciation for what the word truly means.
I think a lot of people believe that to gay people gay marriage is all about the symbolism-- surely that is part of it-- but it's really about our basic rights to be defined and protected as a family. These laws strongly impact and influence the lives of gay people, our choices about where we live and work, our sense of freedom (or lack thereof) within our own country. I can only hope that other people will gain a sense of what this really means as time goes on. Outside of Massachusetts we're all still outlaws. One can only hope this won't be true for too much longer.
Congratulations Massachusetts. Job well done.