Thursday, March 30, 2006

MA Supremes: We’re not the Gay Bay State
Court: Gays Can't Come to Mass. to Marry

BOSTON (AP) -- Same-sex couples from states where gay marriage is banned cannot legally marry in Massachusetts, the state's highest court ruled Thursday.

The Supreme Judicial Court, which three years ago made Massachusetts the first state to legalize gay marriage, upheld a 1913 state law that forbids nonresidents from marrying in Massachusetts if their marriage would not be recognized in their home state.

"The laws of this commonwealth have not endowed non-residents with an unfettered right to marry," the court wrote in its 38-page opinion. "Only non-resident couples who come to Massachusetts to marry and intend to reside in this commonwealth thereafter can be issued a marriage license without consideration of any impediments to marriage that existed in their former home states."…

Gov. Mitt Romney applauded the ruling.

"We don't want Massachusetts to become the Las Vegas of same-sex marriage," Romney said. "It's important that other states have the right to make their own determination of marriage and not follow the wrong course that our Supreme Judicial Court put us on."…

This is an interesting ruling. I think it unlikely that the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) was worried about the 1913 law or “endow[ing] non-residents with an unfettered right to marry.” This was a political move by this group of jurists. Had they ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, the other state(s) involved, their sovereignty having been trampled upon, would have taken the matter before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). And that would have called into question the whole of the inane logic the Massachusetts court used to legislate marriage law from the bench. I doubt SCOTUS would reach down into Massachusetts and disturb the Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling on gay marriage but it is likely that the idiocy of the original 4-3 SJC ruling on same-sex marriage would not go unnoticed in a SCOTUS opinion (either in concurrence or dissent). And nothing stings a jurist more, activist or not, than to be made to look the fool by a superior court.

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