Massachussetts Supremes to Reconsider Gay Marriage
Mass. Supreme Court To Hear New Gay Marriage Appeal (365Gay.com)
In what is expected to be the last gasp of gay marriage foes in Massachusetts the state’s highest court will hear a challenge to the court’s ruling that legalized same-sex marriage. Oral arguments will be heard in April. Last May, days before the Supreme Judicial court ruling allowing gay marriage was to go into effect, the Catholic Action League and the Thomas More Center sought to have the ruling delayed. The two groups, and other conservatives who entered the case argued that the court should suspend its ruling until the voters had a chance to decide the outcome of a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage.
The legislature has since passed the amendment, but it must get approval again in this session of the legislature before going to voters in 2006. A vote by lawmakers, expected this spring has now been put off until fall and recent polls show that the amendment is not likely to get past the legislature or get to voters. In May, Justice Roderick Ireland refused to issue a stay on the start of gay marriage and the decision was appealed.
The announcement that the full court would hear the challenge was greeted by conservatives but dismissed by the gay legal group that won the marriage decision. Ã¢€œ[This] case represents perhaps the final loose end that requires clean-up in the aftermath of the desperate efforts to undermine the Goodridge decision,” said Gary Buseck the Legal Director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.
via Michael Demmons, who wonders “why is it judicial activism when gays and lesbians use the courts, but not when conservatives use the courts?”
Presumably, the answer in this case is that the Massachusetts SC overturned an understanding of marriage that predates the existence of the Republic by centuries and the expressed will of the people as expressed by their legislature via a reading of the Massachusetts Constitution that had theretofore been considered absurd. Indeed, that rather defines “activist.”
Still, it appears a moot issue. I can’t imagine the Massachusetts supremes are going to overturn their own ruling at this stage. Once people get used to the idea of gays marrying, an amendment to the Commonwealth’s constitution is also exceedingly unlikely.