By Elizabeth O’Brien
BOSTON, June 14, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The government of Massachusetts narrowly lost an opportunity to allow a public vote that could potentially ban gay ‘marriage’ within the state. Only 50 votes were needed for a constitutional ban of same-sex marriage to be on the Massachusetts State ballot for the November 2008 vote. The vote today was 151 against the amendment versus 45 in favor.
According to the Boston Globe, House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi, Senate President Therese Murray and Governor Deval Patrick waited until they had just enough votes to prevent the measure from going to the public for a vote. After joining with gay rights activists to lobby against the ban, they carefully calculated votes and pushed through a vote when they knew there were enough votes to defeat the ballot measure.
The Globe reports that the event is being considered a major victory for gay rights activists since the issue cannot be raised again at the state level until 2012.
“We’re proud of our state today, and we applaud the legislature for showing that Massachusetts is strongly behind fairness,” said Lee Swislow, the executive director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, “The vote today was the triumph of time, experience, and understanding over fear and prejudice.”
The state court received 170,000 signatures petitioning for the amendment to ban homosexual marriage, which would have permitted the public to have a say in the matter. The Associated Press quotes Rebekah Beliveau, a student at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, “We believe it’s unconstitutional not to allow people to vote on this.”