So why does it matter that Massachusetts has gay marriage? Why do we need a federal marriage protection amendment? We saw exactly why last Friday when a Massachusetts judge ruled that a lesbian couple from Rhode Island could be legally married because Rhode Island doesn’t have a law explicitly banning same-sex marriage. So not only do Massachusetts judges overturn thousands of years of common law jurisprudence and understanding of marriage for this state, but now they’re doing it in other states. Heck, if you can overturn your own state constitution, why not unilaterally extend your jurisdiction to other states too?
The ruling by Judge Thomas E. Connolly, a significant victory for gay rights advocates, is the first to find that same-sex couples from outside Massachusetts can marry under the Supreme Judicial Court’s 2003 ruling that legalized same-sex weddings in the Bay State.
Gov. Mitt Romney had said that 1913 law on the books in Massachusetts forbade people from out of state from being married here if their marriage would be illegal in their home states, but since some states do not explicitly forbid gay marriage, it’s open season. Funny that now we have to start defining a negative.
Does the law explicitly ban marrying your dog? No? Then you can walk Fido down the aisle.
The irony, as some of my knowledgeable readers have pointed out, is that there is no law on the books legalizing gay marriage. The Supreme Judicial Court had ordered the Legislature to pass a law by May 2005, but that date passed without the law being passed. Instead, Romney ordered city clerks to start issuing marriage licenses. If my understanding is correct, those licenses are not legally valid. Perhaps one of those readers can review the situation in more detail in the comments.