Massachusetts court says gays may wed

Conservatives say decision raises the stakes
Turning the heat up on the national debate, Massachusetts’ highest court has ruled that civil unions are not good enough to comply with the court’s historic ruling in November that opened civil marriage to gay couples.

The Supreme Judicial Court, answering an inquiry from the State Senate, said on February 4 that homosexuals would be “second-class” citizens if denied full access to civil marriage. “The history of our nation has demonstrated that separate is seldom, if ever, equal,” the court’s four-justice majority said, adding that civil unions would “have the effect of maintaining and fostering a stigma of exclusion that the Constitution prohibits.”


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