By STEVE LeBLANC, Associated Press Writer
BOSTON - Lawmakers in Massachusetts, the only state where gay marriage is legal, voted Tuesday to allow a proposed constitutional amendment to move forward that would effectively ban it.
AP Photo: Massachusetts Gov.-elect Deval Patrick walks with aides as he leaves the Statehouse in Boston, Tuesday,...
The amendment's backers had collected 170,000 signatures to get a question on the 2008 ballot asking voters to declare marriage in Massachusetts to be between a man and a woman, but they still needed the Legislature's approval in two consecutive sessions.
On Tuesday, 61 lawmakers backed moving the measure forward, compared to 132 opposed. The amendment need 50 votes of support to advance.
Last fall, the Legislature had angered the amendment's backers and Gov. Mitt Romney when it recessed without voting on the amendment. They appealed to the state Supreme Judicial Court, which declined to intervene but chastised lawmakers, saying they had d shirked their constitutional duties by not voting.
Gov.-elect Deval Patrick had urged lawmakers to skip the vote again on Tuesday, calling it a "question of conscience" and saying the amendment process was being used "to consider reinserting discrimination into the constitution."...