Grotesque Anatomy
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
  Very Gay News Indeed
I find this news very heartening.  For the moment I'm suppressing my inclination to worry that the Massachusetts legislature will screw this up somehow.  And I think describing marriage as "the voluntary union of two persons as spouses, to the exclusion of all others" is a very workable definition.

UPDATE:  I'm going to have to read through the full decision (PDF) later, but I glanced at the opening paragraph, just wow.
Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations. The question before us is whether, consistent with the Massachusetts Constitution, the Commonwealth may deny the protections, benefits, and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry. We conclude that it may not. The Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens. In reaching our conclusion we have given full deference to the arguments made by the Commonwealth. But it has failed to identify any constitutionally adequate reason for denying civil marriage to same-sex couples.

UPDATE, TAKE TWO:  Still haven't read the full decision (HTML version), but I thought this piece on Slate did a nice job explaining why the Massachusetts ruling differs from earlier decisions in other states.  Only thing it doesn't cover is how the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) could still screw things up on the federal level, even if same-sex couples end up able to marry in Massachusetts in six months' time.
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