Proponents and Opponents of Gay Marriage Displeased with Massachusetts' Decision

( [email protected] ) Mar 29, 2004 07:00 PM EST

BOSTON – The debate on same-sex marriage in Massachusetts adjourned and gave a final approval to a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage but legalize civil unions by a vote of 105-92, while leaving both proponents and opponents of same-sex marriage not fully content with the decision. This is the first decisive step toward banning same-sex marriage at the legislative level.

"I believe many of them are going to feel very ashamed of what they've just done today," said Arline Isaacson, co-leader of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus.

Opponents of same-sex marriage are also expressing their opinions on the final decision that has been made today: "We are giving the people a false choice," said state Rep. Vinny deMacedo, a Republican. "We're saying, 'No problem, you can vote to define marriage as between a man and a woman, but the only way you can do it is if you create civil unions that are entirely the same as marriage.'"

Under a decision in November by the state's highest court, the nation's first gay marriages will take place on May 17. The amendment would have no effect on that deadline, but Gov. Mitt Romney has said he might seek a way to delay any marriages if a constitutional amendment proposal was adopted this year.