Massachusetts House repeals law restricting same-sex marriages to residents

Governor Patrick Deval
Governor Patrick Deval


In what marriage advocates called “part of a cynical strategy to inflict same-sex marriage on the unwilling citizens of other states,” the Massachusetts House on Tuesday voted by a margin of 119 to 36 to repeal a 1913 law that blocked marriage licenses from being granted to same-sex couples from out-of-state.

The Senate approved the repeal earlier in July, meaning the measure now requires one more procedural vote in each chamber of the legislature before it is sent to Governor Deval Patrick, who has said he will sign the measure.

Massachusetts became the first state to permit homosexual marriage in 2004, but then-Governor Mitt Romney ordered town and city clerks to follow a 1913 law that prohibits couples from marrying if the unions would be illegal in their home states.

At the time, Romney argued that repealing the law would turn the state into the “Las Vegas of gay marriage.”

The Catholic Action League denounced the House vote in a Tuesday statement, calling it “part of a cynical strategy to inflict same-sex marriage on the unwilling citizens of other states without the consent of the electorate.”

C. J. Doyle, Executive Director of the Catholic Action League, argued the legislation will allow homosexual couples to litigate to overturn existing marriage laws in other states which prohibit same-sex marriage.

“Once again, the judiciary will be used to evade the legislative process and circumvent the ballot box,” Doyle stated. “Ironically, by voting for this measure today, Massachusetts legislators may undermine the ability of their counterparts in other states to exercise that same right on this issue.”

Doyle also lamented Catholic politicians’ involvement in passing the law.

“Today, a majority of Catholics in the Massachusetts House of Representatives voted again in favor of homosexual marriage. There is a growing sense of outrage among faithful Catholics over the conduct of nominally Catholic politicians who repudiate fundamental Catholic moral teachings about the sanctity of human life and the integrity of traditional marriage. There is also a growing sense of urgency that this scandal must be brought to an end.”

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