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He called the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Rogers, a Democrat, proposed legislation to prevent Massachusetts from granting legal recognition to same-sex marriages established elsewhere: "a purported marriage contracted between persons of the same sex shall be neither valid nor recognized in the Commonwealth." In 1999, the Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Massachusetts called it a "hate bill" and a coalition of more than 150 religious leaders formed the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry to oppose it.

Rogers revised his proposal to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman when he offered it again in 2001, with the additional provision that "Any other relationship shall not be recognized as a marriage, or its legal equivalent, or receive the benefits exclusive to marriage in the Commonwealth." The chair of the Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance of Massachusetts said its prospects for passage were slim but it could serve as a countervailing proposal to efforts at establishing civil unions or providing benefits to same-sex partners of state and local government employees.

The four Roman Catholic bishops of Massachusetts, long distracted by the revelations of the sexual abuse of minors by priests, did not address the issue until late May, when they ordered pastors to read and publish a statement to mobilize their parishioners to contact their legislators to urge then to support the constitutional amendment.

Seven same-sex couples represented by Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders initiated a lawsuit in state court, Goodridge v. GLAD attorney, Jennifer Levi, argued the case in Superior Court on behalf of the plaintiffs.

I'll take a victory on this any way I can get it." Arlene Isaacson of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus later explained it was a critical moment because same-sex marriage had no chance of winning a popular vote at the time: "Not that we would lose by a little, because that wasn't an issue.

Rather, it was that we were going to get massacred".

In the decade that followed, political debate addressed same-sex relationships through two proxy issues: spousal benefits and parenting rights.

The plaintiffs appealed directly to the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), which heard arguments on March 4, 2003.

Same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in the U.

S state of Massachusetts since May 17, 2004, as a result of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) ruling in Goodridge v.

In 1998, when the Legislature passed a home rule petition allowing Boston to create such a status, Governor Paul Cellucci vetoed it because it applied to different-sex couples, which he thought undermined marriage, while he offered to sign legislation that applied to same-sex couples only.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino's attempt to extend health care benefits to city employees' domestic partners by executive order, instead The state had no explicit regulations with respect to foster care and parenting by gays and lesbians, either singly or in relationships, until, on May 24, 1985, the state Department of Social Services, with the approval of Governor Michael Dukakis, created a rule that foster children be placed in "traditional family settings".

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