Massachusetts Gov takes lawmakers to court over gay marriage

Anthony Cuesta | November 28, 2006

BOSTON — Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney asked the state's highest court to order a proposed anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment onto the state's 2008 ballot if the Legislature fails to vote on it.

The Associated Press reports that the Republican governor, a fierce opponent of gay marriage and a possible presidential contender, filed the request with the Massachusetts Supreme Court after lawmakers put off acting on the question until January. The high court ruled in 2003 that the state could not deny marriage licenses to gay couples.

Romney said that the state Constitution required legislators to vote on whether the measure should go on the ballot. According to the LA Times, if they don't vote when they return Jan. 2, the last day of the legislative session, Romney said the court could order the secretary of state to put it on the ballot.

Romney�s complaint, which names Secretary of State William F. Galvin and Senate President Robert E. Travaglini as defendants, contends that by allowing the recess vote, Travaglini �failed to carry out his ministerial duty to require final action upon Marriage Initiative Amendment,� the Boston Herald reports.

If Travaglini refuses to compel a vote in January, Romney and the other plaintiffs – who all petitioned in their individual capacities as voters in the state – asked the court to direct Galvin to place the question on the ballot in November 2008 without lawmakers� approval. The law requires two consecutive legislative votes for the issue to make the ballot.

�Legislators took an oath to uphold the Constitution,� said Romney�s spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom, to United Press International. �This is no longer about just gay marriage. It�s about the right of the people to participate in their own government.�

But Marc Solomon, campaign director of pro-gay rights group MassEquality, told the Times that the complaint a meritless political stunt by Romney, who leaves office Jan. 4. �This is simply another political ploy by Mitt Romney to boost his conservative credentials for his run for president,� Solomon said. �He knows that the request of the SJC has zero chance of going anywhere.�

The postponement of legislative action was widely seen by supporters and opponents of gay marriage as a way to kill the measure.

More than 170,000 people signed a petition backing the initiative, which would define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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