Tuesday, July 24, 2007

1913: Your Time Has Come

Leading up to the big vote on civil marriage rights in Massachusetts, people left and right were telling me to focus on defeating the nasty VoteonMarriage amendment. I acquiesced, against my better judgement, and stopped beating the 1913 war drums.

Then, after we won, a lot of people were tired, exhausted - or pumped and wanting to celebrate the hard-fought victory. Again, the war drums remained silent.

Well, as Mike and I discussed on LeftAhead today, it's now time to drum the thundering percussion instruments and lead the march against one of this state's last vehicles of glbt-discrimination: the 1913 law that forbids out-of-staters from marrying here if - and only if - they're homosexual. It's as odd and peculiar as laws against spitting, or laws that say you need to bring your gun to church on Sunday. It's well past time to rid this Commonwealth of 1913 - and with a Governor, Lt. Governor, Senate President and Speaker of the House all against 1913's existence, I truly don't understand - months later - why this law is still on the books.

Enough.

21 comments:

joe said...

My guess: Bigger fish to fry.

Laurel said...

Undoubtedly they're getting heavy pressure from the DNC to leave bigoted laws in place, much as happened during the marriage amendment debates in the run up to the '04 election.

i;m with you, Ryan. this law needs to go. the law is a dirty ethical stain on the state. but beyond that, MA has a choice to make: let non-MA gay couples spend their money in foreign countries when they get married, or have them spend it in the Bay State.

Ryan Adams said...

I hope it's bigger fish to fry, Joe, but I've been leaning more toward Laurel's opinion. Why? It's the same one they were openly spouting pre-vote, when they were afraid of rocking the vote before actually voting on the marriage amendment.

They told us to wait. We've waited... it's time.

joe said...

But the law doesn't affect you. However you disagree with the law, it doesn't really affect you, and if there was a lawsuit by a resident of MA, I don't think they would get standing.

Laurel said...

joe, how do you know who this law does and does not affect?

why are you mentioning lawsuits? who said anything about that?

joe said...

I'm simply theorizing ways this law would be struck down if legislative action isn't taken.

As far as this law affecting people, it states that people can't get married in this state if their marriage would not be a valid one in their home state. That seems pretty clear who it's affecting. It seems like a good law, in general. It affirms states rights.

Laurel said...

it does not affirm state's rights because it is a MA law dictating what people in other states can and can't do. it is the opposite of respecting states rights.

besides being nothing more than rank bigotry, the law prevents MA businesses from expanding. are you opposed to MA businesses?

and yes, the law directly affects non-MA people only. again, how do you know one way or they other if this affects me? you assume too much. also, there are one or two MA residents who have gay family outside the Bay STate mote. it is hurtful to them to see their family subjected to this caste system. thirdly, there are ample Bay Staters who have no personal stake in gay family or friends getting married, but are morally offended that some Americans are give special rights (heterosexuals) while others are openly discriminated against (gays). That aint the American way, my friend.

Anonymous said...

The law is not only about gay marriage, though. Some states forbid second cousins from marrying - Mass. does not. They should not be issued a license. There are MANY laws pertaining to relationship, age of consent, medical conditions, etc.

Laurel said...

anonymous, that's the problem of states in a federal system. why is it that MA is the only one imposing this extra burdon on out of staters? can you explain that to me? by your logic, each state should have this law in place, and there should be no "faith in credit" clause which induces each state to honor marriages from each other state. no, MA is the odd state out, and not because it has marriage equality, but because it's literally acting as the nanny state for residents from the other 49.

joe said...

Actually, it's not acting as a nanny or a burden to out of staters, it's enforcing laws of other states. While you can go ahead and argue semantics, the reasoning behind the law is sound. It would be the same as if Vermont made beer illegal, and massachusetts passed a law saying that people from vermont can't come to mass and buy beer to bring back to vermont.

Anonymous said...

Like fireworks are now.

Ryan Adams said...

Joe, it could easily effect me. Say I find someone and move out of Massachusetts to be with that person, shouldn't I be able to still get married? Then, I'd have to choose between home and marriage versus the object of my affections.

However, even if it only indirectly effects me, it's a brutally ugly law. Personally, I think it violates the full faith and credit article in the constitution.

joe said...

No marriage shall be contracted in this commonwealth by a party residing and intending to continue to reside in another jurisdiction if such marriage would be void if contracted in such other jurisdiction, and every marriage contracted in this commonwealth in violation hereof shall be null and void.

I think if you married them and then moved, the law wouldn't apply. That would be cause for a test case.

Anonymous said...

It would be the same as if Vermont made beer illegal, and massachusetts passed a law saying that people from vermont can't come to mass and buy beer to bring back to vermont.

Um, no, it would be as if Massachusetts said Vermonters can't drink in Massachusetts.

Glad you think the reasoning behind an anti-race-mixing law is sound.

joe said...

You misunderstand, not surprisingly.

Well, to keep with the analogy, the Vermonter can drink in mass all he wants, but when he crosses the border, his B.A.C. would reset to zero. Read the law. They can get married, but it would be null and void.

Also, it's only speculation that it's an anti-race mixing law. There was really no debate or reason given when the law was passed, so you'll never know. Period.

Anonymous said...

Since when is enforcing the civil laws of other states our job? Our job is to enforce our own laws. You're damn right it's about states rights, everytime that phrase is envoked it's been to justify either slavery or bigotry, in this case hell no you can't leave segregated Virginia where it's illegal fr you to get married to get married here, interracial couple, we'll enforce your state's right to violate the Federal Constitution.

We have certain laws that govern marriage. As long as we permit out of state couples to marry here, then the only thing that should govern whether or not it's legal and subject to the full faith and credit cause is whether they fit our legal criteria. What's next, Ohio outlaws gambling and won't let people pass outside the state limits unless they swear they're not going to gamble, and then when they come back they're prosecuted for perjury? They're already trying to criminalize going across state lines to states with different abortion laws to get an abortion, too. Sure, you're against abortion, but is that really the country you want to live in where we can't even pass freely over state borders and be traeted like American citizens while we're there?

I'm against human rights, but states should have as many rights as they can dream up as long as they're oppressive.

"It would be the same as if Vermont made beer illegal, and massachusetts passed a law saying that people from vermont can't come to mass and buy beer to bring back to vermont."

Yeah, that would be stupid, unecessary and ridiculous and completely nanny state. If the person buys beer here and goes back to Vermont with it, they're violating Vermont law, and they'll be subject to the penalies there because of it. Because they are actively doing something illegal in Vermont. Drinking beer. (unfortunately for your analogy, it's not illegal to have drunk beer in Massachuseets as a Vermonter, only to actively drink beer while in Vermont. Likewise, if it's illegal for certain people to marry in Vermont, well sorry, but they're not doing anything illegal if they go to another state where it is legal and come back married, they have not broken and are not breaking the laws of Vermont)

If MA were to pass a law saying the Vermonter can't buy beer to take back to Vermont, then we'd basically have to criminalize selling beer to Vermonters anywhere in MA, since we don't know what they're going to do with it and we can't be sure they're not going to take it back to Vermont and selling beer to Vermonters under those conditions is illegal. That may be states' rights, but that ain't federalism. Or, we could just sell it to them according to our laws and then let VT handle it if they try to bring it back into their state. You know, let them enforce their own laws. Which is exactly how the fireworks are handled, it ain't a joint sting operation between NH and MA, you get your stuff confiscated by the MA state troopers. Weirdly, the NH troopers concern themselves with violators of their laws, not colluding with MA authorities to punish MA residents for doing things that are perfectly legal in NH but illegal here. Really rare for you to be cornered in a NH store by a NH cop, "Drop it right now! I know you're from MA! I'm not letting you out of here with that!"

How about if Ryan gets married to somebody here in MA, legally, and he and his husband adopt a child. Then they break up, and Ryan's husband takes the child and moves to a state where Ryan's parental rights won't be accepted because he's gay and the state they move to doesn't recognize the rights of gays to adopt, and, probably, doesn't even accept the legality of their marriage even though, again, violation of federal law. States' rights? How do you know what law is or isn't going to affect someone.

joe said...

Where are the pending suits? If this stuff was going on, there's be more Goodridge decisions pending left and right.

Ryan Adams said...

There are decisions coming and some have come. However, it's a slow process.

Anon's 5:16 firework analogy, Joe, is pretty good.

joe said...

Here's my question: Can the out of staters not get married, or can they get married and it's just null and void when they leave the state?

Anonymous said...

they can't marry in MA unless 1) they come from NM or RI, or 2) they are in the process of moving to MA. AT this time, if a couple not from NM, RI or MA wants to get married, they have to take their love and money to Canada or beyond. And they do.

Anonymous said...

Where do all the second cousins in love go ?

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