In Boston, the Massachusetts attorney general approved a ballot initiative on Wednesday that would allow voters an opportunity to overturn the court decision made in 2003 that legalized gay marriage.
Democrat Attorney General Tom Reilly said that the initiative met the constitutional requirements in Article 48 that permits people to petition for a constitutional amendment "that overrules a court decision when the court has declared a statute to be in violation of our constitution."
This will allow Christian and conservative groups to initiate a campaign to place this ban before voters in 2008.
Which will be the next step for conservative and Christian groups such as the Massachusetts Family Institute (MFI), who will gather about 65,825 signatures by Dec 7, so that legislators can consider putting the proposed initiative on the ballot.
Then, it would need to be approved by 25 percent of the 200-member state Legislature over two sittings in 2006 and 2007, before being placed before voters as a constitutional amendment in 2008.
Last week, Mitt Romney, the state's Republican governor, urged Reilly to approve the petition. "Citizens should not be excluded from a decision as fundamental to society as the legal definition of marriage," he said in a letter.
Gay activists, on the other side, were disappointed by Reilly's decision and said they are determined to appeal the ballot, "We don't for a moment doubt they will get the signatures, and then once they get the signatures our side is going to sue," said Arline Isaacson from the Massachusetts Gay & Lesbian Caucus.
The initiative that was passed on Wednesday would overturn the decision of gay marriages and ban both gay marriages and same-sex civil unions.
The MFI website said "Civil unions are a legislative matter and should not be part of the state constitution. When recognizing marriages entered into after the adoption of this amendment by the people, the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall define marriage only as the union of one man and one woman."