August 4th, 2008
12:12 PM ET

Gay marriage: more to come?

Govt. Deval Patrick signs a bill at the Statehouse in Boston, July, 31, repealing the 1913 law that blocked out-of-state gay couples from marrying in Massachusetts

Govt. Deval Patrick signs a bill at the Statehouse in Boston, July, 31, repealing the 1913 law that blocked out-of-state gay couples from marrying in Massachusetts

Chris Edelson
State Legislative Director
Human Rights Campaign

There were plenty of good reasons for Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to sign legislation Thursday repealing a nearly 100 year old law that prevented many out-of-state gay and lesbian couples from marrying in the Bay State: a fundamental belief in equality for all couples and all families, rejection of discrimination, simple fairness. But there’s one, perhaps unexpected, factor entering the discussion: equality makes good economic sense.

Five years ago this November, Massachusetts became the first state to recognize marriage equality, the equal right for gay and lesbian couples to marry, under state law (the federal Defense of Marriage Act denies married gay and lesbian couples federal rights and benefits).

California recently joined Massachusetts in providing gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry (although California voters will decide this November whether to turn back the clock and take away marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples).  But there was one important difference: California would let gay and lesbian couples from out of state marry, while Massachusetts, in most cases, would not.  This was (no) thanks to the so-called 1913 law, named for the year it was enacted, that prohibited out-of-state couples from marrying in Massachusetts if their marriage would not be legally recognized in their home state. The law, which was apparently enacted in order to prevent interracial couples from out of state from marrying in Massachusetts, had not been applied for decades, until it was revived in 2004 by then-Gov. Mitt Romney, an opponent of marriage equality.  Since nearly every state expressly prohibits marriage by gay or lesbian couples, most gay and lesbian couples who lived outside Massachusetts could not come to the Bay State to marry.

Legislators in Massachusetts, who are overwhelmingly supportive of equality, took notice of what was happening: out-of-state couples were heading to California to get married, and bringing their wedding guests with them.  The state commissioned a study by the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute, which predicted that repealing the 1913 law would bring over $100 million in revenue into Massachusetts.

This is a win-win situation.  The Massachusetts legislature and the governor already supported marriage equality.  Seeing that expanding equality to out-of-state residents would help the state’s economy made the decision to repeal the antiquated 1913 law a pretty easy one: repeal legislation sailed through the State Senate and House before the Governor signed it.

The big question of course, is which states are next?  Pam Spaulding notes that Nevada may be starting to see the light.  Of course, not every state realizes the economic upside of equality: South Carolina recently halted a gay-friendly tourist campaign marketing the state in London. When the state apparently wouldn’t pick up the tab for the ad campaign, the South Carolina Pride Movement, a pro-equality group, stepped in to pay the costs.

One more instance of equality and fiscal responsibility coming together.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Gay & Lesbian Issues
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. kp

    I am only a high schooler and yet I can't belive that I have more common sense than the 40 plus year olds who have put HUMAN RIGHTS on the ballot! Hasn't history taught us enough? Are we honestly that stupid?

    February 1, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  2. KSuzanne

    Tammy of LA ....thank you for speaking truth! I am deeply sorry about your young cousin...BUT I am grateful you shared the story with all of us...we must grow up past this insane thought that our individual morals must govern a nation. That is elitism at its best. If you don't look like me, talk like me, walk like me, marry like me, then you are an outcast. It makes one think, at least one that has the capacity to think deeper and reflect upon these unsettling cultural wars in our society as the repressive thinkers create twists and turns in our history, and as we respond to the cultural isolationists and the theocratic state they try to create for our country....just what is the purpose, the meaning, and where will it take us as a nation to focus on cultural wars, while our nation, our planet, is heating up and life as we know it is soon about to disappear; while our nation is in the business of bullying other countries and reaping havoc on our fellow global citizens; while our own children are sinking in the quicksand of poverty and under education; and our working class is the disappearing class...do we really have time for cultural wars, or is it time to do something different? Respond differently, speak up differently, protest differently? We must be committed to a different action....I am, are YOU?


    August 25, 2008 at 10:22 am |
  3. Jose

    I hope that the advocates in same sex marriage and the Justices of the Supreme Court of California who ruled its legality had come up with substitute words for husband and wife, and father(Dad) and mother(mom) as these words who are used to identify the couple are rendered useless in the same sex marriages. Example in a gay marriage both partners are males so one cannot be the husband and the other wife nor both be called husband. It is also inappropriate to have two fathers for a couple. The same is true with respect to a lesbian marriage. So, it is essential that they should come up with substitute words to identify the couple in this weird marriages before it could twist the brains of our children and even our older people. However, to sum up this kind of same sex marriages, I firmly believed in the wisdom of the 48 states in banning the said marriage compared to the 2 states because of its legal and moral implications particularly to protect and uphold that marriage is an inviolable social institution, a union of one man and one woman for the procreation, rearing ,support and education of children.

    August 6, 2008 at 12:43 am |
  4. Sarah

    Our nations motto is "In God We Trust." If we were living up to that then we would be doing what He has asked us to do. We live in a time when more than ever good is being called evil and evil good. Gay marriage is not right.

    August 5, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  5. kakawa

    Since we are on related matter, can Anderson Copper trace the journey of HIV/AIDS to Africa from its origin. That will make a very interesting documentary. I do not intend to put Anderson in a labyrinth, but I know that if somebody can "dig it out" with an open mind and in all honesty; it will be him. Also, what are the factors responsible for the "explosion" of HIV/AIDS after it got to the continental shores of Africa. What part of Africa did it first land. How come HIV/AIDS is concentrated in Africa south of the Sahara. How come there are more incidences of HIV/AIDS among darker skin Africans than there are amongst lighter skin Africans. Please investigate and report to all.

    August 5, 2008 at 12:00 pm |
  6. Annie Kate

    I see a lot of problems if only some states allow "gay" marriages and others do not. Marriages up to this point have been recognized from one state to another if you were legally married; so when I married in NC my marriage was recognized in my home state of TN. With gay marriages right now its only recognized in Massachusetts and California – that isn't equal treatment under the law.

    Being for gay marriage or not really isn't the point here – the point is for everyone to be accorded equal rights – if a "straight" couple can marry in any state and that marriage be valid in all states then a "gay" couple should have the same. For a country whose constitution embodies equal rights for all this shouldn't be the big debate it has turned out to be.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    August 4, 2008 at 9:05 pm |
  7. Surafel Melaku

    Just because you are against same sex marriage doesn't mean they don't have right (to marry, life, and such)! We have to agree that we disagree with same sex marriage and move on. We have other issue to worry about than this non sense.

    And out of respect lets not called them gays, but homosexual.

    August 4, 2008 at 8:43 pm |
  8. Ruby Coria, LA. CA.

    Jim..oh Jim.. the Lord loves you too.. and you could ask him or argue with him all you want as to WHY he love you & others.. so go ahead and cast the first stone..& don't forget Men like you don't cry* nor do they ask for mercy..who was better at birth.. Abe or Cain? –

    August 4, 2008 at 8:26 pm |
  9. seah ohio

    It should be reversed in California.

    The majority of Californians were against Gay Marriage and they made the law with pressure of the minority. In disregard of what the people wanted.

    Making a law on a choice of sexual preference will set a precedent of being able to enact laws on sexual values and sexual choice.

    August 4, 2008 at 8:13 pm |
  10. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    If you're quoting Leviticus you also burn in hell for eating shellfish (assuming you read the whole passage and take all of it literally). While I'm not gay, I sure have eaten my share of crawfish, crabs, shrimp, oysters, and lobster. So I guess I'm sinful and burning one day as well based on that passage. For the record, my God never said love between two people regardless of gender was wrong. He's a bit more accepting of all His kids than that. The gay hate movement is what helped my 19-year old cousin fear coming out last year and fear it to the point where he took a gun from his parents' house and killed himself. Ain't growing up in strict Roman Catholicism grand? Every state should allow gay marriage and the same rights for couples no matter what gender. Every state. That same God the religious whigged out right loves to quote also said "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me." The last time I checked He considered everyone a brother or sister. And maybe if we remembered that message instead of the doctrine of Leviticus, we'd all be a lot more loving as a nation. It's a thought anyway.

    August 4, 2008 at 8:10 pm |
  11. Jim

    Lisa- You ask WHY? – What Part of IT IS WRONG can you not comprehend- God Said it is an ABOMINATION- THAT Settles it- You want to argue with Him on the issue GO RIGHT AHEAD- Your told the Stove is hot- You choose not to listen & place your hand on the hot stove & get 3rd degree burns Then you can only blame yourself.
    When God's Judgement Falls- Don't go Crying to Him to Save You- you will not listen to him- He will not listen to you.He said He will judge sin .

    August 4, 2008 at 7:30 pm |
  12. Ella

    What about extending rights to gay couples who are not married and live in a state that does not recognize gay marriage. In fact, several attempts have been made in Indiana to amend the state constitution to ban same sex unions.

    That's the backdrop in which the University of Southern Indiana board of trustees voted against a proposal to offer health benefits to employees' same-sex partners. The debate still continues on the newspaper (Evansville Courier & Press) editorial pages and in comments online at courierpress.com.

    I have no problem with extending health benefits to same sex couples. But as a female who cohabitated with my current mate for nearly three years before we married in 1988, it would be discriminatory if the same benefits were not extended to heterosexual couples.

    btw, I'm still married to the same man. We celebrate 20 years Oct. 1.

    August 4, 2008 at 7:16 pm |
  13. Roland RIchey

    Economic Boom or Bust? There are a lot of social study reports out there that show that Gay Marriage is an economic drain on state social services. I.e. Boys raised in a home without a male role-model are 3 times more likely to land in jail. And European countries that support gay marriage have substantially more out-of-wedlock births, another huge drain on state social services. And there is more.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:51 pm |
  14. Ruby Coria, LA. CA.

    We live where? we fight & die for what? human rights? what are human rights?.. My friend (She) who is in Afgan. will be coming home in Nov. & She hope to marry her Girlfriend who has stood by her side these long 6 yrs. of service in "Army Strong" fighting for "Freedom".. most of the country as a hold.. (Cindy in Ga.) needs to wake up from drakness. The power of love*

    August 4, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  15. Willow, Iowa

    I don't think its anybody's business who someone wants to marry. I know several couples that have been together for over 20 years. and they have this little spark of hope that maybe, finally, after all these years, they can get married. I would hate to put that spark out. Its time for everybody to be allowed to be married to their partner of choice. And before some neo con says something about marrying the goat down the street, you know what I mean. lol

    August 4, 2008 at 5:35 pm |
  16. Caren in Los Angeles

    What I don't understand is if MA and CA can both allow anyone to come to their state and get married, then what happens when the newlyweds move back home? What happens if someone gets sick or god forbid, happens to die? Does their homestate then have to turn to either MA or CA for legal action? Can that even happen since their homestate does not consider their marriage legal? What's the point of allowing everyone to come to 2 of 50 states to get married if 48 won't consider it legal? Unless all 50 states agree to legalize gay marriages (which they should) how is this going to help anything but CA and MA's economies? It seems like it could be a potential legal headache in the future.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  17. Jessica

    For the sake of our country i hope that there are no more states that follow Mass. or Cali. and theat these states revoke the decisions they have made. Yes as someone else has stated God created everything in the universe, however He also said that we need to go forth and multiply. How do you expect for us to multiply if we are marrying the same sex? I do have friends that homosexual and they are great people but thet doesnt make what they are doing with their lives right and no i cant make them change. However i can do my part to stop the spread of this universal understanding of wrong.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  18. GF, Los Angeles

    Wow Cindy...that's some incredible crystal ball you got there.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  19. mark hoffman, Phoenix AZ.

    Funny, how it's all about money. Yeah the law was originally intended to placate the racists element of the states and repealing it is a good idea in the interests of fairness. However, I'm wondering if it was found out that the repeal actually wound up somehow costing the state money, would those "fair-minded lawmakers" really have taken the "high road"? I doubt it. Never underestimate the power of hate.

    August 4, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  20. Claire

    I have to agree with Lisa. I don't want people speaking for me. Cindy, by saying "Most of the country as a whole doesn't" is taking a lot of liberty. There is no way to know what "most" people think.

    If someone has an issue with it that's fine, people are entitled but to tell others what they can and can't do is beyond opinion. I wish these people against stuff like this would worry about their own lives (because lord knows they aren't perfect) instead of worrying about what others do with their life. Two people getting married effects NO ONE but themselves and family. I wish people would stop the judgements!

    August 4, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  21. Lisa

    Cindy, please don't speak for us Californians. The more polls that are conducted, the tide is turning favorably towards keeping the law rather than repealing it. And it only makes sense. For those who are opposed to gay marriage, I have only a couple of questions - why? How possibly could gay marriage have any effect on your heterosexual marriage? Why do you feel it necessary to deny the same rights that you enjoy to others simply because they are the same sex? Are we heterosexual Americans really that insecure?

    August 4, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  22. Lawrence Russell

    Homes are being sto;en away from mortgage holders who were fraudulently, lead into "Overpriced Houses", they couldnt afford. The Banks that are repossesing them are being "Bailed Out"!, by a goverment that is "Trillions", of dollars in debt, Young men & women are being killed in a "No Win", war in Iraq!!! All we seem interested in is whether or not to allow to people in love , obtaining a marraiage license??? I guess the general populations "Priorities", are being swayed away from what really affects their lifestyles, and their futures, as well as their childrens futures, are being swept under a rug of "The Sky is Falling"! Chicken Little!! If we allow these "Gay Marriages" to continue to happen!!

    August 4, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  23. JC- Los Angeles

    I find it appalling that the subject of same sex marriage becomes the subject of so much debate solely around election time.

    With standard marriages ending in divorce nationwide roughly 50% of the time and 67% of the time here in California, it's quite apparent that traditional marriages lack a high succes rate and changes should be considered.

    The right to same sex marriage needs to be passed once and for all rather than doing nothing and letting politicians roll it out each election just to pander to certain voting blocks.

    Although I am a heterosexual, I feel that universal health care should be "universal" and true love should be respected as such; seems pretty simple to me.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  24. Michelle, Spring Valley, CA

    I personally don't think it'll be reversed in November... well, I just don't think it'll be a slam dunk. Cindy, I don't know where you got your statistics from. Gay marriage has an ever so slight lead here in Califrornia in the most recent field poll, for the first time ever. It's going to come down to voter turnout. Who's voting, and how old they are. But to say Californians are against it as a whole is an overexaggeration. A lot of us agree with the Supreme Court of California's decision, and believe that should have been done a long time ago.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  25. t

    This is a legal issue and a moral issue, not a religious one. Each citizen of this country should have access to the same protections and rights as another. I should be able to be a spouse to any legally consenting and of-age person who wants to marry me. And no one can tell me that gay people are going trash the institution of marriage any more than any of the various hetero examples we see daily.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  26. Larry

    Why have homosexuals hijacked the the word 'gay'? It used to be a word that meant happy; it also was used as a first name for both men and women.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  27. Henry

    Remember God created everything in the universe and that inculdes Gay people. God wants all people to be happy. It says so in the bible. I think if people want to get married or not, they have that right to, no matter what their sexual prefence. The only person capable of juding them is themselves and no one else. It isn't my job to judge them or yours. Judge yourself and not others.

    August 4, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  28. Melissa, Los Angeles

    Come November I will be voting for gay marriage because I have some good friends who recently got married after 7 years together. The love and commitment they have towards each other is stronger than that of many heterosexual couples and the kindness they've showed me during hard times is more than what some heterosexual friends have shown me.

    August 4, 2008 at 1:57 pm |

    Yes more states will allow gay marriage. Probably not those that still recognize confederate holidays. I think as Americans our biggest problem is judging other Americans. At one time in this country if you married outside of your race that was considered going against the Bible. I am will for gay marriage, I refuse to pre-judge people who are gay. As a mother I cannot understand how people can hate gay people, its their choice and their right. The longer we avoid recognizing this the more confused our children will be. Putting gay aside we are all Americans and should began to respect each other as such.
    Lilibeth tell your brother-in-law I said congrats.

    August 4, 2008 at 1:53 pm |
  30. Lilibeth

    No doubt about it; everybody wins when we are fair to ALL human beings…no exceptions. Two weeks from now, my brother-in-law in Los Angeles will marry his partner of more than 15 years. I’m so excited for them. Their love for each other is deeper than that of most heterosexual couples I know.

    Edmonds, Washington

    August 4, 2008 at 1:24 pm |
  31. Cindy

    No, I don't think that there will be more states that will allow gays to marry. I think that Californians are against it as a whole and when it comes November they will reverse the decision that was made against their will, to allow gay marriages. I don't see many other states following suit because it's citizens doesn't want it. Most of the country as a whole doesn't.


    August 4, 2008 at 12:33 pm |

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