Within the next week, the Massachusetts State Legislature
is going to vote on repealing a 1913 law that forbids non-residents from *ahem* enjoying the fruits of marriage if their home state wouldn't recognize the license as legit.
Translation: Upon repeal of the law, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will give you a marriage license, even if your home state won't give you one because it's a no-no for you to get marriage to the partner of your choice under the home state rules. Should the 1913 law be lifted, it wouldn't just benefit gays and lesbians, but also to straight couples who'd be in the SoL boat if they stayed home.
Keep in mind, this 1913 law was originally passed under the bad ol' days of miscengenation laws
that forbid marriage between blacks and whites. I.e., if you were a Massachusetts resident, or the resident of a state where marriages between blacks and whites were allowed, you could get a marriage license from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with no fuss.
If you were living in a state where marriages between blacks and whites couldn't
take place, well, up until 1967 when the Supreme Court ruled on Loving v. Virginia
, you couldn't get a Massachusetts wedding license.
In any case, after the state began allowing same-sex marriages in 2004
, some state legislators, our then-Gov. Mitt Romney (aka, the Lying Sack of Shit hated by Democrats and Republicans alike in this state)
, and certain "pro-family" groups insisted that the 1913 law be enforced.
Keep in mind, not only was the 1913 law rarely enforced up until 2004, but the reason it even existed in the first place was completely due to racism
Yeah, really proud roots the 1913 law has.
Hopefully the Legislature will wipe the law from the books. This time, all that's needed is a simple majority to wipe out the 1913 law, rather than a two-thirds vote, which was needed to kill the Constitutional amendment that would've put a 'marriage is only between a man and a woman' amendment on this year's state ballot and put equal rights up to a popular vote.
The usual suspects are up in arms and vowing to fight the repeal, of course, never mind the fact that they are slowly but surely being pushed into the dustbin of history (good riddance).
Though, you gotta love how the debate is going. It's such a refreshing change from last year's acid-spewing debate over the proposed amendment to the state constitution:
Pro keeping the 1913 law: It's part of the homosexual agenda to make other states recognize same-sex marriage!
Anti keeping the 1913 law: Other states are not our problem.
Pro keeping the 1913 law: We don't want the state to become Las Vegas for homos!
Anti keeping the 1913 law: Tourist dollars from honeymooners! We're gonna make tens millions! Hundreds of millions, even! YAY!
Pro keeping the 1913 law: You're trying to turn us into California!
Anti keeping the 1913 law: They allow same-sex marriage with no restrictions. We gotta play catch-up to stay competitive for those tourist honeymoon dollars. Hey, we're thinking of an ad campaign: "Massachusetts is for Lovers." We're just not sure if we should make Northampton or Provincetown the honeymoon capital. What do you think?
Pro keeping the 1913 law: *calls movers and makes plans to get the hell out of dodge*
Once again, I feel I need to stress this point: the restrictions imposed by the 1913 law affected straight people
as well as gays and lesbians. In fact, I think it's pretty safe to say that more straight people have been affected by this law than gays and lesbians. Just so we're clear, before someone drive-by comments to whine that some how those darn homos are getting "special rights" that straight people don't have.
Also, the tone of the debate over same-sex marriage is very different this time around. I'm not saying that same-sex marriage supporters are complacent, but there does seem to be a sense that we've got more than enough votes to remove all restrictions on marriage. The political environment is different, and the majority of the legislature is pro-same-sex marriage and equal rights for gays and lesbians. It's even funny how the Boston Globe
covers it: like an after-thought. Sort of, "Oh, yeah, one more housekeeping item and then we're done here."
You know, sometimes when I sink into a pit of despair, a little thing like this comes along and cheers me up.