WASHINGTON - September 14 - The Human Rights Campaign praised the Massachusetts Legislature for defeating an amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution that would deny marriage to same-sex couples and their families. The measure, which passed last year’s Constitutional Convention, was defeated by a 157-39 vote.
"Legislators put family protection over divisive politics," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "This is an important victory for Massachusetts families. Over the last year, more than 6,500 same-sex couples showed that marriage fortifies all families. With families on the line, it's time once for all to take politics out of this debate."
Solmonese added: “More time, energy and money will be drained from the state because of yet another cynical attempt by extremist groups to put discrimination in the Massachusetts Constitution. Our focus now shifts to working closely with our allies to defeat the ballot measure in 2008. MassEquality and the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders have done incredible work around this issue and we’ll continue to stand by their side.”
The Travaglini-Lees amendment would have taken away the right to marry from same-sex couples and created, instead, civil unions. Another discriminatory amendment will appear on the ballot in November 2008 that would deny both marriage and civil unions to same-sex couples.
"Today’s vote in Massachusetts shows support for marriage equality is growing every day,” said Marty Rouse, campaign director of MassEquality. “This historic vote demonstrates that the more voters and legislators see the reality of marriage equality, the more they understand and support the simple, but profound quest of our families to be treated equally under the law.”
HRC has invested more than $1 million in the fight for marriage equality in Massachusetts, with grants MassEquality; other state groups; and research, polling and field work in the state. HRC has had several staff members on the ground during critical moments in the campaign to defeat this amendment. HRC members in Massachusetts have also lobbied their legislators, turned out at rallies and talked to their neighbors and friends about marriage equality.