Thursday, 4:30 PM
Coakley affirms support for protecting right to gay marriage
By Megan Woolhouse, Globe staff
CAMBRIDGE -- Attorney General Martha Coakley said Friday night that if Massachusetts voters were to approve a ban on same-sex marriages, she would back any efforts to challenge the measure on constitutional grounds.
A constitutional ban could go on the ballot in November 2008 if it receives a second vote of approval from the Legislature.
I think we can easily anticipate that if the proposed amendment was successful, there would be protracted, hard-fought litigation about the constitutionality of such a provision, she said in a speech at the annual dinner of the Massachusetts Lesbian & Gay Bar Association. If that battle is necessary, you have my support.
The remarks, at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge, were the strongest Coakley has made on gay marriage since becoming attorney general in January. Massachusetts lawmakers are weighing whether to put the proposed ban on the ballot. On Wednesday, the House and Senate met in a Constitutional Convention but recessed until next month without taking a vote on the amendment.
After a 2003 decision by the states highest court, Massachusetts became the only state in the nation to sanction same-sex marriage. In May 2004, those marriages became legal.
In her speech, Coakley said that despite warnings by opponents of the decision, the sky has not fallen, life goes on.
The institution of marriage is alive and well in the Commonwealth, she said, adding that more than 8,500 same-sex couples have married in the state. It has been made more inclusive. I think a seamless integration of an ancient institution with the modern (but welcome) recognition of the reality of the diversity of sexual orientation, has made our state stronger.