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

New England Nuptials? A Little-Known Law Restricting Marriage in Massachusetts Could Prevent Nonresident Gay and Lesbian Couples from Getting Hitched. Here's What You Need to Know to Get Married in the Bay State

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

New England Nuptials? A Little-Known Law Restricting Marriage in Massachusetts Could Prevent Nonresident Gay and Lesbian Couples from Getting Hitched. Here's What You Need to Know to Get Married in the Bay State

Article excerpt

Planning on getting married in Massachusetts? If you're not from the Bay State, you may want to check with your local gay rights group before buying your plane tickets. Years ago Massachusetts passed a law requiring out-of-state couples to provide proof that their marriage would be legally recognized in their home state. That means a couple from Ohio--or the 38 other states with "defense of marriage" laws banning recognition of same-sex marriages--may not be allowed to get hitched in Massachusetts.

Whether or not the somewhat antiquated provision will be applied to same-sex couples has not yet been decided by the stats government, according to Nicole St. Peter, deputy press secretary for Gov. Mitt Romney. "At this time we're not prepared to answer questions about what could happen regarding the marriage laws," she says. She also declined to say whether the law was currently being applied to anyone or if it had ever been used before.

Paul Cates, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union in New York City, says his organization is attempting to find out if the law will play a role. "We're in murky water here," he says. "It's unclear right now how the Massachusetts supreme judicial court would interpret the law. …

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