In a surprise move, Massachusetts legislators took a first step toward banning same-sex marriages in the first and only state to make them legal. If the state legislature approves a ban in another vote during the 2007-2008 session, the initiative will be placed on the November 2008 ballot.
It was thought last month that the lawmakers would adjourn without voting on the controversial issue, although the state’s Supreme Judicial Court had castigated legislators for not acting on the measure.
The court had precipitated the nation’s first legal same-gender marriages in 2004 with its ruling that it is unconstitutional in Massachusetts to limit marriage to heterosexuals. However, the judges had advised the legislature to vote on whether to provide voters with a referendum on the issue.