NM Should Lead the Way in MA

Marriage: Let New Mexico work it outBoston Globe, Editorial, August 2, 2007

Since the Massachusetts Department of Public Health isn’t a family court in Albuquerque, it shouldn’t have to interpret New Mexico’s marriage rules. Yet under a 1913 Massachusetts law, out-of-state couples cannot marry here if their union would be illegal at home. So DPH, which includes the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics, had to pass judgment on whether New Mexico forbids same-sex marriage. It does not, the department concluded last week. While we hope New Mexico will uphold equal rights for all, that state can set its own policies. The Massachusetts law is an ugly throwback to a time when interracial marriages were allowed here but banned in much of the rest of the country. It should be repealed.

Amen. The 1913 law should have been repealed years ago. It will be.

The real challenge in today’s Globe editorial is offered to marriage equality activists in New Mexico. They now have a great opportunity to show the way in our country’s march toward full citizenship for LGBT people.

Massachusetts’s firm commitment to equality through all levels of state government now makes it possible for LGBT people in a few other states to benefit from our state’s leadership. There is a great opportunity for people from NM to seek justice in MA and then return home to begin the transformation process of making gay marriage a reality in more states.

NM Gov. Bill Richardson is committed to pushing for domestic partnerships with all the rights and benefits of marriage. Let’s hope that he can be pushed beyond this separate-but-equal solution.

 The first brave steps, however, must be taken by LGBT citizens of NM who come here to marry. I’m calling my friends in NM and inviting them here for a beautiful Massachusetts summer wedding. Let freedom ring!

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