Monday, May 14, 2007

Coakley on Same-Sex Marriage

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley stated on Friday, May 11, that the proposed state constitutional referendum seeking to ban gay marriage may be unconstitutional. She warned that placing such a referendum on the ballot may trigger prolonged litigation if legislators approve the ballot measure and voters endorse the change in the Massachusetts constitution. Speaking before the Massachusetts Lesbian and Gay Bar Association, Coakley noted that even though the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that such an amendment could be placed on the ballot if the legislature approved it, at least two SJC justices have opined that the landmark Goodridge v. Mass. Department of Public Health, 440 Mass. 309, 798 NE2d 941 (2003) decision legalizing same sex marriage “may be irreversible because of its holding that no rational basis exists, or can be advanced, to support the definition of marriage” as between one man and one woman. Coakley also stated that the amendment would discriminate against same-sex couples by removing rights they already had been granted.