Group Warns Massachusetts Will 'Export' Marriage Destruction

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:06 PM EDT

( - A vote Thursday by the Massachusetts Legislature denying voters the chance to decide whether same-sex "marriage" should be banned in the state will embolden its supporters to take "the destruction of marriage across state lines, " a pro-family group said.

Fifty votes were required to place the issue on the 2008 statewide ballot, but only 45 votes were recorded in favor of the move, with 151 opposing it.

"Today's vote by the legislature to stop the marriage amendment from reaching the people of Massachusetts is only the beginning," said Matt Daniels, president and founder of the Alliance for Marriage, which drafted the federal marriage amendment before Congress.

"Radical activists will now move to strike the 1913 law in Massachusetts requiring state residency for a marriage license, in a determined effort to export the destruction of marriage across state lines," Daniels said.

"As designed, activists from all 50 states will travel to Massachusetts, obtain a marriage license and then sue in federal court to strike down any laws (or state amendments) protecting marriage in other states," he predicted, adding that activists are trying to make same-sex marriage "the new social norm for America."

"This is nothing short of a plan to create a national blitz of lawsuits challenging state marriage laws, state marriage amendments, and the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act," Daniels said.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins accused the three branches of government in Massachusetts of conspiring "to deny the people their right to vote."

"The legislature's obstruction of the democratic process further deepens the threat to marriage, ensuring this will remain a key issue to values voters in the presidential race," he said. "I call on all of our national leaders to declare how they will lead to protect marriage."

Homosexual rights activists welcomed the vote.

"We're proud of our state today, and we applaud the legislature for showing that Massachusetts is strongly behind fairness," Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders Executive Director Lee Swislow said in a statement.

"This proposed constitutional amendment was a misguided attempt to put people's equal rights to a vote," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "We are grateful that the overwhelming majority of Massachusetts legislators rejected this divisive measure.

"For the past three years, loving and committed same-sex couples have enjoyed the equal right to marry in Massachusetts. Despite the doomsday predictions of opponents of equality, the sky hasn't fallen, and no one's marriage has been threatened," Solmonese said.

"To the contrary, the institution of marriage has been strengthened as same-sex couples and their families have enjoyed the equal rights and protections they deserve under Massachusetts law. The Legislature's action ensures that they will continue to enjoy those equal rights and protections," he added.

But Daniels said while the majority of Americans believe "that gays and lesbians have a right to live as they choose," they disagree that homosexuals have "a right to redefine marriage for our entire society."

He said the only way to stop the nation from continuing "on a collision course with the courts over the future of marriage" is to approve the Marriage Protection Amendment.

The proposed constitutional amendment, which seeks to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman, failed last June after the Senate failed to muster the votes required to proceed.

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