Press

Hundreds Turn Out at Press Conference, Hearing to Oppose MA ‘Super DOMA’

Date: 
May 18, 2001

Opponents of a bill that would ban same-sex marriage in Massachusetts as well as prohibit domestic partner benefits for public employees greatly outnumbered proponents during a marathon, 11-and-a-half hour committee hearing in Boston Thursday.

H. 3375, also known as "Super DOMA" and the "anti-gay, anti-family" bill, would define marriage as between one man and one woman and would also forbid any legal recognition for same-gender couples and their families, including domestic partners and civil unions.

"Family diversity is a fact of life in Massachusetts," said Tim McFeeley, political director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "Through adoption proceedings and other measures, family courts in Massachusetts have been creating and protecting families headed by same-sex couples for many years. Super DOMA would put the courts against the legislature and endanger existing families in the state, as well as cast a shadow of doubt over the future of adoptions by same-sex couples."

More than 150 people attended a press conference opposing the bill, and then attended a hearing before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. Opponents of the bill — including representatives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender groups, legal groups, adoption professionals, clergy and labor organizers — greatly outnumbered a small handful of proponents. The hearing began at 1 p.m. and finally adjourned at 12:30 a.m. Friday.

NGLTF, in conjunction with groups such as the Freedom to Marry Coalition of Massachusetts and the LGBT Political Alliance of Western Massachusetts, organized opponents to attend the hearing. NGLTF sent direct mail to its members who live in the legislative districts of Judicial committee members, generated dozens of witnesses against the bill and hundreds of legislator contacts, and assembled an coalition that included People For the American Way, the Interfaith Alliance, the Japanese American Citizens League, SEIU Massachusetts State Council, the Massachusetts Libertarian Party, and others.

–30–

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.