November 18, 2003
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.