September 14, 2005


BOSTON -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts today applauded the Massachusetts state legislature for overwhelmingly voting down a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have codified discrimination against same-sex couples.

""The American Civil Liberties Union is proud to stand for the fundamental principle that there should be no discrimination in the Constitution,"" said Carol Rose, Executive Director of the ACLU of Massachusetts.

The state legislature voted 157 to 39 today to reject an amendment that would have defined marriage in the Constitution as between one man and one woman, effectively dismantling the more than 6,000 marriages that have taken place since equal marriage rights were first legally recognized in May 2004.

""The peoples' representatives spoke today,"" said Norma Shapiro, Legislative Director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. ""The process worked and the people have been heard as more and more constituents expressed support for equal treatment of all families.""

Shapiro emphasized that after spending six years debating the issue, it is time to move on. ""All families need to have the legislature focus on such critical issues as health care, housing, and education-we should not be wasting any additional time on gay marriage. After 6,000 Massachusetts same-sex couples have tied the knot, they have demonstrated to us that their security threatens no one else.""

""When the history books are written,"" added Rose, ""it will be remembered that those who rejected prejudice and stood instead for the principle of Equal Justice For All were the true patriots and heroes in the human journey toward freedom. Same-sex couples make commitments and build families together just like straight couples. The constitution shouldn't be used to deny them the dignity and protections they need for their families.""


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