The Massachusetts legislature voted 105 to 92 to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage but establish civil unions for same-sex couples. According to the Washington Post, the amendment must still win approval from lawmakers during the 2005-2006 legislative session and if passed it will then be placed on the state ballot for a referendum in November 2006.
In February, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the legislature’s proposed civil union bill would not be sufficient to satisfy its November decision that the state must afford homosexuals equal rights in marriage. However, directly after the lawmakers voted to ban same-sex marriage yesterday, Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), who opposes both gay marriage and civil unions, requested a stay on the February ruling. If the stay is approved it would bar same-sex couples from marrying until the proposed constitutional amendment goes before voters, reports the New York Times.
According to the Boston Globe, lesbian and gay rights activists and supporters will continue to fight the ban in the next legislative session. The co-chair of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, Arline Isaacson, told the Washington Post, “All this is, is a kinder, gentler way to take away our rights.”