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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Junior G Wade Taylor IV (4) covers his face after a missed point during Texas A&Ms game against Arkansas on Feb. 20, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
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Ali Camarillo (2) waiting to see if he got the out during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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A&M welcomes new journalism professors from CNN, Dallas Morning News
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Members of the 2023-2024 Aggie Muster Committee pose outside the Jack K. Williams Administration Building. (Photo courtesy of Aggie Muster Committee)
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Mass. court rules civil unions aren’t enough

BOSTON – The Massachusetts high court declared Wednesday that gays are entitled to nothing less than marriage and that Vermont-style civil unions will not suffice, setting the stage for the nation’s first legally sanctioned same-sex weddings by the spring.
The court issued the advisory opinion at the request of legislators who wanted to know whether civil unions would be enough to satisfy the court after its November ruling that said gay couples are entitled to all the rights of marriage. That decision had been written in such a way that it left open the possibility that civil unions might be allowed.
But Wednesday’s opinion by the Supreme Judicial Court left no doubt: Only marriage would pass constitutional muster.
”The history of our nation has demonstrated that separate is seldom, if ever, equal,” four justices wrote. ”For no rational reason the marriage laws of the commonwealth discriminate against a defined class; no amount of tinkering with language will eradicate that stain. The (civil unions) bill would have the effect of maintaining and fostering a stigma of exclusion that the Constitution prohibits.”
Paul Martinek, editor of Lawyers Weekly USA, said that the blunt opinion erases any confusion.
”The fat lady has sung and she’s singing the wedding march,” Martinek said. ”It’s clear from reading the majority opinion that there’s no basis on which the (court) will OK anything other than marriage.”
The much-anticipated opinion came a week before next Wednesday’s Constitutional Convention, where the Legislature will consider an amendment backed by Republican Gov. Mitt Romney that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
But the soonest a constitutional amendment could end up on the ballot would be 2006, meaning that until then, the high court’s decision will be Massachusetts law. Gay couples could get married in Massachusetts as soon as May, the deadline set by the court last fall.
”We’re going to have to start looking for a band,” said Ed Balmelli, who put down a deposit for a wedding after the opinion.
The case represents a significant milestone in a year that has seen broad new recognitions of gay rights in America, Canada and abroad, including a June U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a Texas ban on gay sex.The White House called the Massachusetts ruling ”deeply troubling.”
”Activist judges continue to seek to redefine marriage by court order without regard for the will of the people,” said presidential spokesman Scott McClellan.

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