Gay marriage challenge voted down

by Beacon Staff • November 15, 2006

More than 200 protesters rallied all day on both sides of Beacon Street in front of the State House on Nov.,pLegislators on Beacon Hill recently voted 109-87 against a preliminary measure that would have allowed representatives to vote on putting the issue of same-sex marriage on the 2008 election ballot./p

More than 200 protesters rallied all day on both sides of Beacon Street in front of the State House on Nov. 9./ppOn Beacon Street, a group of more than 100 gay-marriage supporters, including students from Emerson College and Boston University (BU), and religious organizations such as Mass Bible Association, held up signs with phrases like, "Separation of Church and Hate" and "Enough is Enough."/ppDirectly across the street, opponents of gay marriage, largely a middle-aged and elderly crowd, waved "Let Us Vote" signs and repeated chants like, "One woman, one man, one boy, one girl."/ppIn May 2004, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled 4-3 that it was unconstitutional to deny marriage to same-sex couples, making Massachusetts the first state to legalize gay marriage./ppAccording to Mass Equality, span class="cp_pullquote"over 8,100 gay couples in Massachusetts were married as of February of this year./span/ppEarlier this year, VoteOnMarriage.org-a campaign advocating that people in the US decide the definition of marriage in Massachusetts-Mass Family Institute and State Representative Phillip Travis of Rehoboth collected 170,000 signatures on a petition to ban gay marriage, leading to the resurgence of this issue in the legislature./pp"I have been battling this for two-and-a-half years. Let the people vote," Travis said on his way to Beacon Hill./ppSophomore writing, literature and publishing major and Co-President of Emerson's Alliance for Gays, Lesbians and Everyone (EAGLE) Jessica Ganon said her organization collaborated with Spectrum, a gay-rights advocacy group at BU, to make posters./pp"I would like to say it's set in stone now and we'll be left alone," Ganon said./ppManda Foo, a sophomore journalism and international relations major at BU, said she rushed to the rally in between classes to wave a sign reading "Love Trumps Leviticus."/ppJesse Posner, a junior acting major at Emerson, said she was raised by a same-sex couple and remains in support of gay rights./pp"Any kid raised in a loving family just couldn't be luckier," Posner said. "Any protection we can give to loving families is a good thing."/ppMany opponents of same-sex marriage across the street said they were hoping for the same protection but saw the issue very differently./ppEmily Donovan, a junior at Marian High School, a private Catholic school in Framingham, was a rare young face in the sea of opponents./pp"The Catholic faith doesn't believe in it and I hope they can change it," Donovan said of gay marriage./ppJanet Burdewik, Pastor of the First Congregational Church in Springfield, stood in support of same-sex marriage and said the use of religion to ban it is wrong./ppEmerson alumna Maggie Crowley '05, who graduated with a double major in dance and political science, now serves as director for the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry./ppShe organized more than 700 religious congregations who support marriage equality and advocates for same-sex marriage./pp"We want to be a voice for the fact that not all religious people have the same views on this issue," Crowley said./ppAt the end of the day, supporters of gay marriage went home pleased./ppAndrea Wheeler, a sophomore organizational and political communication major and co-president of EAGLE, said she would not have been surprised with either outcome, but said she was very happy about the results./ppLegislators will re-convene in January./ppIf they had decided to vote on the amendment, same-sex marriage opponents would have needed 25 percent of the legislators' votes in order to have gay marriage on the 2008 ballot./pp"This was our opponents' last chance," Wheeler said. "Gay marriage is safe in Massachusetts."/pp