Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

A Maverick on Gay Marriage: Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld Stands out in the Republican Party as a Straight Man Arguing for Same-Sex Marriage

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

A Maverick on Gay Marriage: Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld Stands out in the Republican Party as a Straight Man Arguing for Same-Sex Marriage

Article excerpt

As Massachusetts's governor in 1996, William Weld not only appointed to the state supreme judicial court eventual chief justice Margaret. Marshall--who authored last November's ruling in favor of same-sex marriage--the maverick Republican also laid the groundwork for a pro-gay slate environment. During his tenure from 1991 to 1997, Weld appointed dozens of gays and lesbians to high-level posts while fighting for a gay-inclusive Republican Party.

Weld, now of New York City investment firm Leeds and Weld jumped back into the political debate in January, signing a letter to oil 200 Massachusetts legislators urging them, not to settle, for a civil unions system. He argues the state has no choice but to conform to the high court ruling. Weld agreed to answer via e-mail The Advocate's questions about the ruling and the impending marriages of his gay friends.

When asked by The Advocate in 1993 whether you supported same-sex marriage, you said you were not ready. What changed?

The Massachusetts supreme [judicial] court's decision was a watershed moment in legal terms. The court's holding that a denial of the state-created privilege of marriage to same-sex couples would violate the Massachusetts constitution is a fairly clear one. That being the case, the question has moved beyond whether one is "in favor of" same-sex marriage. The court's decision is the law, at least in Massachusetts.

So are you saying you now support same-sex marriage?

I have read the opinions in the case, and while they are all thoughtful, scholarly, and serious, I do believe the case was correctly decided.

Why did you sign the letter to the legislators?

The reason I do not believe that a newly created status of "civil union" would satisfy the court's decision is because that is not what the court said. Suppose that after the U. …

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