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Text of gay marriage ban amendment proposed by joint leadership

The following is the text of a new version of the proposed constitutional amendment developed by leaders of the House and Senate. Similar to a version already given preliminary approval by the Legislature, the new version clarifies that this amendment asks voters to simultaneously ban gay marriage and legalize civil unions, and that civil unions would not grant federal benefits to gay couples.

 

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"The unified purpose of this Article is both to define the institution of civil marriage and to establish civil unions to provide same-sex persons with entirely the same benefits, protections, rights, privileges and obligations as are afforded to married persons, while recognizing that under present federal law same-sex persons in civil unions will be denied federal benefits available to married persons.

"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 the commonwealth. Two persons of the same sex shall have the right to form a civil union if they otherwise meet the requirements set forth by law for marriage. Civil unions for same sex persons are established by this Article and shall provide entirely the same benefits, protections, rights, privileges and obligations that are afforded to persons married under the law of the commonwealth. 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."

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