Thursday, 4:30 PM
Reaction to the defeat of the proposed same-sex marriage ban
MassEquality, a group that lobbied to keep same-sex marriage
"The proud legacy of individual rights and liberties is alive and well in Massachusetts," said campaign director Marc Solomon. "Our constitution, the John Adams constitution, the oldest in the nation, will continue to protect the equal rights of all its citizens, including its gay and lesbian citizens and their families.
"This is about individual courage and leadership," Solomon added. "And because of the commitment and leadership of Governor Patrick, Senate President Murray and House Speaker DiMasi, all Massachusetts families today are safer, more secure and valued equally. This is a joyous day for our families, and a proud day for Massachusetts."
VoteOnMarriage.org, a group that supported the same-sex marriage ban
"The Marriage Amendment won its first legislative vote and was on track to win its second with a healthy margin. The unprecedented pressure by leaders on Beacon Hill – the rumors of patronage jobs by Governor Patrick and arm-twisting by House Speaker DiMasi – derailed the largest initiative petition drive by citizens in the Commonwealth’s history and this is a brutal loss for citizen-centered democracy," said Kris Mineau, president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org.
"All three Beacon Hill leaders opposed the people's right to vote on marriage. Allegations of bribery by the Governor and arm twisting by the House Speaker as a means of pressuring legislators to switch their vote have been reported widely in the press in recent weeks.
"The Governor and House Speaker have been unrelenting in fighting the natural course of advancement on the marriage amendment and the people’s right to vote," said Mineau. "We will look very closely at the circumstances by which legislators switched their vote for ethics violations or improprieties."
"Citizens in 45 states have weighed in on the definition of marriage either through the legislative process or by constitutional amendments. VoteOnMarriage.org vows to continue the fight for the people of Massachusetts to be heard on this issue."
Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts
"The nation’s eyes were on Massachusetts today, and they saw a triumph for civil rights and fundamental fairness. Today's historic vote will have a national impact on civil rights for years to come. Massachusetts has led the nation in education, in health care and in biotechnology, and today Massachusetts renewed its commitment as a proud leader in civil rights."
Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate
"Today's vote by the State Legislature is a regrettable setback in our efforts to defend traditional marriage. Unfortunately, our elected representatives decided that the voice of the people did not need to be heard in this debate. It is now even more important that we pass a Constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage. Marriage is an institution that goes to the heart of our society, and our leaders can no longer abdicate their responsibility."
The four Catholic bishops of Massachusetts, who wrote letters to legislators in support of the ban
"Ignoring the will of more than 170,000 people who signed the marriage petition and blocking the people from exercising their right to vote is tragic.
"In the Commonwealth, our state laws provide for the process whereby the citizens have a right to vote on a constitutional amendment.
"However, the leadership of the Democratic Party refuses to allow citizens and elected officials to vote their conscience on social issues. Their ideological positions undermine the common good. Today, the common good has been sacrificed by the extreme individualism that subordinates what is best for children, families and society.
"It is obvious from the unprecedented amount of pressure that was put upon elected officials that opponents of the amendment believed that the voters of the Commonwealth would have voted in favor of the traditional definition of marriage. The pressure tactics were engineered to insure that the will of the people would not prevail.
"The question for those elected officials who opposed allowing the marriage amendment to be voted on by the people is: do we live in a country where people are free to vote their conscience or are we controlled by what is viewed as politically correct and by powerful special interest groups?
"We extend our sincere appreciation to those members of the legislature who stood firm in their support to allow the people an opportunity to exercise their right to vote on the marriage amendment.
"Perhaps in the future legislators will have the courage to let the people vote on an issue so important to the future of families."
--singed by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley of Boston, the Rev. George W. Coleman of Fall River, the Rev. Timothy A. McDonnell of Springfield, and the Rev. Robert J. McManus of Worcester
State Senator Gale Candaras, a Democrat from Wilbraham, who changed positions and voted against the ban
"For me, what all this comes down to is this: Same gendered couples are taxpaying, law-abiding citizens, who are important community contributors, well-loved and well-respected by their families, friends, neighbors and employers. They deserve and are entitled to the same legal protections enjoyed by all others citizens of our state. This is the law of the Commonwealth, articulated by our Supreme Judicial Court in Goodrich v. The Department of Public Health, decided in November, 2003."
Alliance for Marriage, a group against same-sex marriage
"Today’s vote by the legislature to stop the marriage amendment from reaching the people of Massachusetts is only the beginning," said Matt Daniels, president and founder of the Alliance for Marriage. "Radical activists will now move to strike the 1913 law in Massachusetts requiring state residency for a marriage license, in a determined effort to export the destruction of marriage across state lines."
"As designed, activists from all 50 states will travel to Massachusetts, obtain a marriage license and then sue in federal court to strike down any laws (or state amendments) protecting marriage in other states," added Daniels. "It is intended to make sure Massachusetts 'gay marriages' become the new social norm for America. This is nothing short of a plan to create a national blitz of lawsuits challenging state marriage laws, state marriage amendments, and the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act."
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts
"This is an important victory and a clear statement that the old politics of division, distraction, discrimination and wedge issues will not find a home in Massachusetts. Brave legislators recognized that this amendment was wrong. They voted down a kind of politics that was nothing but punitive. They stood against an effort that didn't even purport to provide for equal rights. A lot of hard work went into this victory and I applaud Governor Patrick, Senate President Murray, Speaker DiMasi and all who were involved in ensuring that a discriminatory and misleading ballot initiative was kept off the ballot in Massachusetts.”
American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts
"We thank the legislators who stood up for freedom and fundamental fairness for all by voting no," said Carol Rose, Executive Director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. "This is a victory for all people in Massachusetts -- gay and straight alike -- who understand that discrimination has no place in our constitution or in our state."
The Rev. William Sinkford, president of Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
"Today's decision by Massachusetts lawmakers to defeat the marriage amendment is a cause for great rejoicing. On behalf of the Unitarian Universalist Association, I want to thank the legislators who did the right thing by preserving the Massachusetts constitution and keeping our marriage laws free from discrimination. This decision makes a profound difference in the lives of thousands of couples and families in this state, and it shines as a beacon of hope for same-sex couples across the country. Marriage is a civil right."
Eileen Donoghue, a candidate for the Fifth Congressional District
"I applaud Massachusetts legislators today for their courageous vote against adding discrimination to the state Constitution. I have always supported equal marriage rights and will continue to fight for
the extension of those rights as a representative in Congress."
Democrat Niki Tsongas, a candidate for the Fifth Congressional District
"Three years ago I rallied on the steps of the State House with my daughter in support of same-sex marriage, and today the work of thousands of people dedicated to marriage equality has finally paid off. I am pleased that the legislature reflected the will of the majority of Massachusetts’s residents by recognizing that constitutional amendments should not limit rights but expand them. We can all be proud that we live in a state where the civil rights of all our citizens will be protected. Our state and nation are stronger for this commitment to defending the rights of all people and for putting a high value on the principles of tolerance and human dignity."