By a 151-to-45 vote, the Massachusetts Legislature today defeated a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc., invested significant staff and other resources (totaling $460,000) to protect marriage equality in Massachusetts. Moreover, the Task Force played an essential role in today’s victory: Task Force organizers led the effort that convinced two conservative legislators — Sen. Gale Candaras and Rep. Angelo Puppolo — to listen to their constituents and switch their votes to support equality. Candaras has repeatedly voted against marriage equality, while legislative newcomer Puppolo initially ran a pro-amendment campaign. These switches provided two of the eight votes needed to win the margin of victory.
You can get an idea of how important this was from NGLTF Executive Director Matt Foreman’s statement.
“Today’s vote averts a divisive, defamatory and hugely expensive campaign that our national community would have had to wage between now and 2008 to preserve the freedom to marry in the one state where we have it. The repercussions — in terms of saved energy and millions of dollars that can now be devoted to other pressing priorities — cannot be overstated.
“I am extremely proud that the hardcore grassroots work of National Gay and Lesbian Task Force organizers delivered two of the critical eight votes needed to win today. Once again, our organizers — this time Becca Ahuja, Jason Cooper and Zaheer Mustafa — were asked to do the seemingly impossible in Massachusetts and we delivered.
“We salute the leadership of MassEquality, especially Marc Solomon and his predecessor Marty Rouse. For three and a half years, our friends and colleagues in the Bay State mounted the country’s most extensive and hard-driving field campaign to win a decisive victory and to drive a stake through the heart of a mean-spirited and cruel proposed amendment to the world’s oldest constitution. We are proud to be their partners in this historic fight and share their inexpressible relief and joy.”
Congratulations to NGLTF and all the couples married in Massachusetts.