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MA Town to Defy Governor on Marriage Licenses for Out-of-State Same-Sex Couples

The board of selectmen in the Cape Cod town of Provincetown, which has a large gay population, voted yesterday to issue marriage licenses to couples even if they do not intend to live in Massachusetts. The town clerk in Worcester has also said that he will issue licenses to out-of-state couples, the New York Times reports. Massachusetts will begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses on May 17 in accordance with a Massachusetts Supreme Court order. Governor Romney (R), an opponent of same-sex marriage, has invoked a 1913 law that prohibits the marriage of couples if their marriage would be “void” in their home state, according to the Times. Romney interpreted this law to mean that only same-sex couples living in Massachusetts or intending to move to Massachusetts are eligible since there are no other states that perform same-sex marriages. Romney responded to the Provincetown vote by issuing a statement saying that if local officials decide to defy his interpretation of the law, “we will take appropriate enforcement action, refuse to recognize those marriages, and inform the parties that the marriage is null and void,” the Times continued. Douglas Johnstone, the Provincetown clerk, said that he will issue out-of-state marriage licenses, and it would be the couple’s responsibility to be truthful and accept any consequences for getting a license in defiance of the governor’s order. In anticipation of the May 17 deadline approaching, the Boston labor union International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 103, which represents 6,000 members, clarified its benefit plans to ensure only opposite-sex spouses would be covered, according to the Boston Globe. Also, the Times reports that a conservative group based in Florida called the Liberty Counsel filed a lawsuit in federal court to prevent Massachusetts from issuing same-sex marriage licenses on May 17. JOIN the Feminist Majority

Sources:

Feminist Daily News Wire 2/5/04; New York Times 5/11/04; Boston Globe 5/5/04 & 5/11/04