Monisha Bansal | Staff Writer | Tuesday, October 03, 2006
"It's not going to stop with Rhode Island. People in Alabama, people in Iowa, people all across this country are eventually going to face this same attack," said Matt Daniels, president of Alliance for Marriage, the group that authored the proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning same sex marriage nationwide.
"This is the latest step in a ten-year process to take the marriage issue out of the hands of the American people," Daniels told Cybercast News Service.
\sb100\sa100 Massachusetts homosexuals were given the right to obtain marriage licenses on May 17, 2004, by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in its Goodridge v. Department of Public Health ruling. But a 1913 Massachusetts law prevents out-of-state couples from marrying in Massachusetts if they would be barred from doing so in their home states.
However, the highest court in Massachusetts left it up to a lower court -- the Suffolk County Superior Court -- to determine whether Wendy Becker and Mary Norton of Providence, R.I., could export their Massachusetts marriage license back to their home state, which does not recognize same-sex marriage.
The superior court Friday a href="http://www.glad.org/marriage/Cote-Whitacre/9_29_06.pdf ruled in favor of Becker and Norton, arguing that since Rhode Island law defines marriage only in terms of "a bride and groom," it could be construed as allowing members of the same sex to legally marry.
Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch on Monday insisted that his state would not recognize the court order from Massachusetts or any homosexual marriages performed in Massachusetts.
Michael Maynard, spokesman for Rhode Island Republican Gov. Donald Carcieri, echoed Lynch's remarks. "This is basically the case of a Massachusetts court interpreting Rhode Island law, so at the end of the day, any interpretation of Rhode Island law made by a court in another state is meaningless," Maynard told Cybercast News Service .
"A Massachusetts state court ruling has no jurisdiction here in Rhode Island and a Rhode Island court will interpret Rhode Island law," he said. "We have to rely on Rhode Island law, and our law doesn't allow [same sex marriage] right now.
But Daniels was not satisfied. "The forces behind the case have proved that their goals have not changed, which is to destroy marriage in this country against the will of the people through the courts," Daniels said. "They are determined to use the courts to force this on our country."
He pointed to New Jersey, which is currently embroiled in a court battle to legalize same sex marriage. "The New Jersey case is probably the most dangerous case that we currently are facing," Daniels said. "The only thing that will stop this is the [federal] marriage protection amendment."
Homosexual rights groups are hailing the Suffolk County, Mass., decision.
"At last the fence of discrimination has been removed at the border of Massachusetts and Rhode Island," said Michele Granda, the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) attorney who represented the Rhode Island lesbian couple.
"Loving, committed, Rhode Island couples can now affirm their relationships in the most public and respected way our society knows."
GLAD published a guide for same-sex couples in Rhode Island on how to marry in Massachusetts.
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