Press

Massachusetts lawmakers recess without acting on anti-same-sex marriage measure

Date: 
November 09, 2006

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

“More than 8,000 same-sex couples are already legally married and fully recognized under the laws of the Commonwealth, and legislators today affirmed the dignity and equality of those families. Massachusetts can hopefully now move on to the people’s business.” — Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 — Massachusetts legislators, meeting in today's constitutional convention, voted to recess their session, effectively killing the most recent proposed amendment to strip away the constitutionally protected right to marry for all qualified couples in that state.

Statement by Matt Foreman, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“Today's victory stands as a high-water mark of decency and courage on the part of elected leaders who chose to end the shrill, divisive and corrosive debate over the legitimate and legal marriages of their constituents, their neighbors and their family members."

“More than 8,000 same-sex couples are already legally married and fully recognized under the laws of the Commonwealth, and legislators today affirmed the dignity and equality of those families. Massachusetts can hopefully now move on to the people’s business."

 “We applaud the extraordinary work of MassEquality in defending marriage and defeating repeated attempts to overturn this fundamental right.”

Background

Since the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court legalized same-sex marriage, the state has seen more than 8,000 same-sex couples marry. Opponents have pushed for a ballot vote on whether an amendment banning same-sex marriage should be added to the state constitution. But before a proposed constitutional amendment can be included on a ballot, one-quarter of the Legislature must approve it in two consecutive constitutional conventions. In July, the Legislature recessed without considering the amendment, and without a vote in favor of the measure before Dec. 31, the petition dies, and opponents of marriage equality would have to begin collecting signatures all over again.

This fall, the Task Force launched an aggressive six-week grassroots lobbying campaign to persuade various South Shore area legislators just south of Boston to oppose the amendment. A team of four Task Force organizers recruited and trained 134 volunteers to talk with voters face to face about same-sex marriage and ask supporters to sign postcards to their legislators opposing the ban. In just six weeks, the Task Force generated an additional 3,040 postcards from constituents opposing the ban. In addition, 100 of these volunteers participated in a massive Election Day action on Nov. 7, where volunteers talked with voters at the polls and got cards signed. That action alone generated 2,140 cards. 

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.