On Wed, the Massachusetts Legislature rejected a proposal to amend the state constitution that would ban gay marriages, leaving Mass. as the only state that allows same-sex couples to wed.
The Legislature, which voted 157-39 against the proposal has shown the increasing tolerance of gay marriage that is spreading across the nation.
Legislators who opposed the amendment, this time around, said that gay marriage has not affected the society, but only that couples "can now marry who could not before," said Senator Brian P. Lees, a supporter of the amendment in March 2004, but whom told the NYT that he voted against it Wed.
MFI was pleased with the vote because it has been working to defeat the amendment since June. It believes that the amendment is not sufficient, since it bans gay marriage, but allows "civil unions," which give marriage benefits to homosexual couples.
Therefore, MFI will continue their mission with the next phase to protect the definition of marriage by rallying together pro-marriage supporters as they move forward with the petition drive that will begin on Wed, Sept 21.
"Many citizens who oppose gay marriage also oppose civil unions," MFI President Kris Mineau said, "Our efforts now turn to gathering approximately 66,000 signatures for our new amendment."
The new "Protection of Marriage Amendment" will clearly define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and will exclude civil unions.
"It puts the definition of marriage, and the definition of marriage alone, before the voters, something…the people of the Commonwealth have been asking for years," the MFI website reported.
The new amendment was approved by Attorney General Tom Reilly last week, and says "When recognizing marriages entered 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."
It needs to be adopted by 25% of the Legislature and take a majority of the citizens' votes on the 2008 statewide election in order to have an impact on who would be able to marry in Massachusetts.
Meanwhile, the pro-marriage movement will begin next week, where thousands of pro-marriage volunteers will travel across the state to collect 120,000 signatures in the limited time of 60 days.
MFI will be working with Massachusetts Catholic Conference, the Knights of Columbus, the Black Ministerial Alliance, Massachusetts Citizen for Life, and 14 other pro-family organizations.
For more information visit www.votemarriage.org