Thursday, July 5, 2007; Page A16/ Washington Post Editorial
Photo: St. Petersburg Times
WHEN THE high court of Massachusetts ruled in 2003 that the commonwealth's constitution gave same-sex couples the right to marry, detractors railed against "activist judges" who were "imposing" their will on the people. Only the people, through their elected representatives, should decide something so fundamental, they said. Thus began an effort to amend Massachusetts's constitution by referendum to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Four years and about 10,000 same-sex marriages later, here's what the people have said: never mind.
To get the referendum on the 2008 ballot, opponents of gay marriage needed only 50 of Massachusetts's 200 legislators to vote for the amendment during consecutive two-year sessions. The first vote at the end of the last session, in January, garnered the support of 62 lawmakers. But the second vote last month attracted only 45. Now the earliest the amendment could hit the ballot is 2012. By then, the response from the people very well might be "What's the big deal?"