Governor's lawsuit seeks vote on Mass. same-sex marriages

NATION DIGEST

November 25, 2006|By New York Times News Service

BOSTON -- Gov. Mitt Romney filed a lawsuit yesterday asking the state's highest court to order the Legislature to vote on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage or to place it on the 2008 ballot if lawmakers do not tackle it.

The Legislature voted 109-87 on Nov. 9 to recess a constitutional convention before the measure was taken up, which appeared to kill it. The convention was recessed until Jan. 2, the last day of the legislative session.

More than 170,000 people have signed a petition asking the Legislature to amend the state Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, the only state that permits it.

The lawsuit, filed by Romney acting as a private citizen and 10 other same-sex marriage opponents, said the Legislature had a "legal duty to act" on citizen petitions but had relied on procedural devices to "avoid a vote and evade its constitutional duties." The Legislature recessed before voting on the measure two other times this session.

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