The Massachusetts Senate this afternoon passed the bill repealing the 1913 law invoked by former Gov. Mitt Romney to prevent out-of-state same-sex couples from marrying. The Boston Globe reports:
The bill, which had the support of Senate President Therese Murray, passed with no objections on a voice vote. Proponents of the repeal called the 1913 law archaic and discriminatory.
“There are very few laws on the books that I can say that I’m ashamed that they’re on the books,” said State Senator Mark Montigny, a New Bedford Democrat. He said he opposed the law because of the “immorality of discrimination.”
“This is a very simple law, contrived in shame, and it exists in shame and we ought to wipe it off the books,” he said.
“The 1913 law is a shadow, a terrible shadow. It represents a segregationist past that is best put to rest and put to rest quickly,” said Senator Harriette Chandler, a Worcester Democrat.
The law originated when lawmakers in many states were trying to prevent interracial couples from crossing state lines to marry. It fell into obscurity for decades. But it received new attention in 2004, when Republican Governor Mitt Romney invoked it after gay marriage was legalized in Massachusetts to prevent out-of-state gay and lesbian couples from marrying here and forcing their home states to consider recognizing Massachusetts marriage law.
The bill goes to the House now, and is expected to pass and be signed by the current Gov. Deval Patrick by the end of July.