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November 18, 2003

<< A Deal Delayed | The Ghost of Democracy Speaks >>

Frabjous Day

I hope you’ve heard the good news. The Massachusetts Supreme Court has finally handed down their long-anticipated ruling that denying gay couples the privileges of marriage violates the state Constitution.

And now comes the hard part.

The Mass. court’s ruling is a lot like the Vermont ruling four years ago. In both cases, the courts basically said, OK, figure out a way to give marriage-like status to these people’s relationships.

In Vermont, this ruling brought about a long, strenuous, hyper-emotional episode.

The biggest difference between the two is that the court isn’t merely requiring the legislature to create something marriage-like-but-not-quite-exactly. The court is saying that it must have the same rights and protections as heterosexual marriage, and under the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution, it must be recognized by all other states.

In other words, Massachusetts just made this everyone’s problem. Take the angst of the Vermont decision and multiply it by 50.

Posted November 18, 2003 at 4:22 | Comments (3) | Permasnark
File under: Fairy-Tale Marriage


Wait, so how do you think other state legislatures will respond? Do they need to respond? Are Vermont's civil unions recognized in other states? Am I clueless?

Throw me a bone, here! (Or, er, a link.)

Posted by: Robin on November 18, 2003 at 10:24 PM

As I understand the ruling, the legislature can either craft a full-blown marriage equivalent for same-sex couples -- or they can amend the state constitution to restrict the rights of marriage to "a man and a woman", leaving the court without a leg to stand on. While I certainly hope they take the former route, the latter is probably easier, politically, since it wouldn't involve full faith and credit problems with, say, Alabama.

I'll get to your questions in another post.

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