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Text of proposed constitutional amendments on marriage

Amendment proposed by joint leadership

 

Proposed jointly by leaders of the House and Senate, which would ban gay marriage and establish civil unions:

This article shall ensure that the people, not the courts, define the unique relationship of marriage.

It being the public policy of this commonwealth to protect the unique relationship of marriage, only the union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Massachusetts. Two persons of the same sex shall have the right to form a civil union, if they meet the requirements set forth by law for marriage between a man and a woman.

Civil unions for same sex couples are established hereunder and shall provide entirely the same benefits, protections, rights and responsibilities that are afforded to couples married under Massachusetts law. All laws applicable to marriage shall also apply to civil unions.

This article is self-executing, but the General Court may enact laws not inconsistent with anything herein contained to carry out the purpose of this article.

Travis amendment


Rejected on Feb. 12 by a vote of 103-94. Roll call

Proposed by Rep. Philip Travis (D-Rehoboth)

It being the public policy of this Commonwealth to protect the unique relationship of marriage in order to promote, among other goals, the stability and welfare of society and the best interest of children, only the union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage in Massachusetts. Nothing in this article requires or prohibits Civil Unions.

Bipartisan Senate amendment


Proposed by Senate President Robert Travaglini (D-Boston) and Senate Minority Leader Brian Lees (R-East Longmeadow)

Rejected on Feb. 11 by a vote of 104-94. Roll call

Section 1. It being the public policy of this Commonwealth to protect the unique relationship of marriage, only the union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Massachusetts.

Section 2. The people of the Commonwealth adopt this Article to protect the unique relationship of marriage. The people also wish to establish civil unions to provide to same-sex couples all the benefits, protections, rights and responsibilities under state law as are granted to spouses in a marriage, while recognizing that under present federal law same-sex couples in civil unions will be denied federal benefits available to married couples.

Section 3. Two persons of the same sex shall have the right to form a civil union if they meet the requirements set forth by law for marriage between a man and a woman. All laws applicable to marriage, including laws that refer to a federal law and laws relating to dissolution of marriages, shall also apply to civil unions. Spouses in a civil union shall have all the same benefits, protections, rights and responsibilities under law as are granted to spouses in a marriage. As used in this section, "law" means any law of the commonwealth, or of any of its political subdivisions, or of any entity established to serve a public purpose, whether defined by statute, agency or court rule or regulation, ordinance, by-law, policy, common law or other source of civil law.

The appropriate agencies of the executive department shall take all the necessary measures to provide civil union license forms as required by the laws governing equivalent marriage forms and to provide for the maintenance of records of all civil unions and the dissolution thereof. The procedures under law for issuing a marriage license shall apply to issuing a civil union license.

Section 4. Persons of the same sex who married before the effective date of this Article shall be considered instead to have formed a civil union under section 3.

Section 5. This Article is self-executing, but the general court may enact laws consistent with this Article to carry out this Article's purposes.

Finneran amendment

Proposed by House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran (D-Mattapan)

Rejected on Feb. 11 by a vote of 100-98. Roll call

It being the public policy of this Commonwealth to protect the unique relationship of marriage, only the union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Massachusetts.

This article is self-executing, but the General Court may enact laws not inconsistent with anything herein contained to carry out the purpose of this article, including, but not limited to, the enactment of laws establishing civil unions as may be defined by the General Court from time to time.

Barrios amendment

Proposed by Sen. Jarrett T. Barrios (D-Cambridge)

It is the public policy of this commonwealth to protect the unique relationship of marriage in order to promote, among other goals, the stability and welfare of society. All marriages between two people shall be eligible for all the rights and benefits of marriage.

Rogers amendment

Proposed by House Majority Leader John H. Rogers (D-Norwood)

It being the public policy of this Commonwealth to protect the unique relationship of arriage, only the union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Massachusetts. Civil Unions for same sex couples are established hereunder and shall provide entirely the same benefits, protections, rights and responsibilities that are afforded to couples married under state law. Persons of the same sex who married in Massachusetts prior to the effective date of this Article shall be deemed to have formed a civil union consistent with the provisions of this Article.

This Article is self-executing and the general Court shall not enact laws inconsistent with anything herein contained to carry out the purpose of this Article.

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Gay couples in Mass.:
The 2000 Census estimated there were about 19,000 gay couples in Mass., and about 659,000 nationwide, or less than 1 percent of households. Provincetown is the community in Mass. with the highest rate of gay partners, about 15 percent of households.
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The typical Massachusetts legislator is a 50-year-old, white, male, Roman Catholic, Massachusetts-born, married Democrat with two children and a graduate degree (about half are law degrees) who ran unopposed in the last election, according to Boston Globe research and analysis.
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