Is Mitt Romney the champion of traditional marriage many people think he is? Does Massachusetts need a constitutional amendment to protect marriage? Is same-sex marriage legal in Massachusetts? The answers to these questions may not be what you think they are—or what the media and even some pro-marriage groups have led you to believe.
The group Mass Resistance has published on its web site an argument that it was Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney who started same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. Close readers of Bettnet will not be surprised by this claim, as it has been made several times by commenters on various threads.
The basic argument is that the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court, contrary to popular belief, did not strike down Massachusett’s marriage laws that only permit one man and one woman to marry. Instead it changed the common law meaning of marriage to include same-sex marriage. This does not change the law nor does it change the state Constitution. Only a constitutional amendment can change the Constitutional meaning of the word “marriage.” The SJC as much as admitted this when it acknowledged that it could not change the law itself, but instead ordered the Legislature to act within 180 days “as it may deem appropriate.” That means that Legislature could have chosen not to change the law. Instead, the Legislature did nothing: it didn’t change the marriage statute, didn’t repeal it, and it didn’t amend the state Constitution. Thus, the law remains on the books.
What Romney did