Out-of-state gay couples and lesbian couples are one step closer to a Massachusetts wedding after the state Senate voted to unanimously to repeal a 1913 law that was used to prevent them from marrying in the Bay State. The bill moves to the House where it is expected to pass. Boston Globe.
"The atmosphere during Senate deliberations lacked most of the drama of previous Beacon Hill debates over gay marriage. There were no chanting protesters outside, and not a voice on the Senate floor was raised against the repeal.
Sponsors said the relative quiet surrounding the State House debate was evidence that same-sex marriage has become much less divisive in Massachusetts since it was first permitted in May 2004, following a 2003 decision by the state's Supreme Judicial Court."
Gov. Deval Patrick—whose 18-year-old daughter publicly came out as a lesbian last month—supports repealing the law. The state's first black governor and other critics of the 95-year-old statute say it carries a racist past and dates back to the time when the majority of states still outlawed interracial marriages.
Dianne Wilkerson is the state Senate's lone black member and says repeal was long overdue. "This is one of the most pernicious statutes on our books," says the Boston Democrat. "In some respects this bill puts the final nail in the coffin of those dark days."
There is also an added economic benefit: A just-released study commissioned by the state concludes that in the next three years "about 32,200 couples would travel here to get married, creating 330 permanent jobs and adding $111 million to the economy." End marriage restrictions, undo a racist law, a boon for the economy state's... it's a win-win for everyone.