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The Fate of Marriage: What Massachusetts Means for the Nation

Recorded on June 22, 2004

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium

Last November, a divided Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, setting aside thousands of years of history, culture and experience, ruled that traditional marriage "is rooted in persistent prejudices" and discriminates "for no rational reason," and that same-sex couples have a right to marry under the Massachusetts constitution. In response, the Massachusetts legislature began the process of amending the state constitution to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. But the Court refused to extend the stay of its decision and insisted that its decision be enforced before any amendment could be even considered by the people. What are the lessons from this debate? Now that one month has passed since the issuance of the first homosexual "marriage" licenses, what has happened in Massachusetts? What are the implications of the Court's redefinition of marriage? Will the fate of Massachusetts be the fate of the nation?