Thursday, July 31, 2008

Massachusetts Eliminates a Shameful Relic of the Past

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law the repeal of the 1913 racist law originally meant to discriminate against interracial couples. It was resurrected by Mitt Romney to use against gay couples.

From The Advocate

Massachusetts on Thursday began allowing any gay couple to get married there as Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill repealing a 1913 law that had blocked most out-of-state same-sex couples from tying the knot.

The old law barred couples from marrying in Massachusetts
if their union would not be valid in their own states.

Patrick said the repeal shows that "equal means equal" in Massachusetts, where a 2003 ruling by the state's highest court made gay marriage legal a year later.

"In five years now . . . the sky has not fallen, the earth has not opened to swallow us all up, and, more to the point, thousands and thousands of good people -- contributing members of our society -- are able to make free decisions about their personal future, and we ought to seek to affirm that every chance we can," Patrick said.

Supporters of repealing the measure said the old law had the taint of racism because it was passed 95 years ago as states tried to prevent interracial marriages. The exact reasons the Legislature approved it remain unclear.

Opponents said it prevented Massachusetts from interfering with the decisions of other states -- the overwhelming majority of which specifically bar same-sex marriage.


Asked if the change might create legal problems for couples returning to states with same-sex marriage bans, Patrick said: "What we can do is tend our own garden and make sure that it's weeded, and I think we've weeded out a discriminatory law."

Full article here