Score one for the ru…
Score one for the rule of law.

BOSTON — A Superior Court judge on Wednesday declined to halt enforcement of a 1913 state law barring out-of-state gay couples from marrying in Massachusetts, despite a concern that the statute violates the spirit of the state´s landmark same-sex marriage decision.

The law prohibits marriages that would not be legal in the couple´s home state. In what is likely to be the first of several phases in the case, Superior Court Judge Carol Ball denied a request by eight out-of-state gay couples for a preliminary injunction blocking the state from enforcing the residency requirement.

A few points:

  • The “spirit” of a new law does not invalidate an existing law. If you want to get rid of the old one, that’s what the legislature is for. Here we have another case of liberal activists trying to do an end run around the proper process (mostly because they know they couldn’t win there).
  • This is a good example of homosexuals trying to get special rights not afforded others. I don’t recall any previous challenges to the 1913 law by anyone else, but when it’s applied to same-sex marriage all of a sudden it’s a travesty of justice.

But it ain’t over yet.

“We think this is going to go up the ladder,” said Michele Granda, an attorney with Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders. “We always knew this was really just round one and round two will be at the appellate court.”

Yup, they’re just going to work their way up to a court willing to ignore the law.

In her decision, Ball said she sympathized with the plaintiff couples and was “troubled” by the state´s decision to suddenly begin enforcing the law after the Goodridge decision.

But Ball said the 1913 law, as currently enforced, is being applied equally to all nonresidents. “Clerks were instructed to do so for all couples and all impediments, not just for same-sex couples,” Ball wrote.

The law, enacted when some states had laws prohibiting interracial unions, had in the past been applied to couples that didn´t meet their states´ age requirement for marriage, and for weddings between blood relatives and couples of different races.

But Ball said the law was not discriminatory because the state has a rational reason to ensure that marriages approved in Massachusetts have validity in other states.

“Safeguarding the benefits, obligations and protections of the parties, including the children, of a marriage that the Commonwealth has helped create, is a legitimate governmental objective,” Ball wrote.

Congratulations to Judge Ball for using reason and justice, in spite of her being “troubled’ by the timing of things, to enforce the laws as written. I would try to ease her mind by noting that there were no real stark differences in different states’ requirements for marriage licenses prior to the same-sex marriage issue (less so if you just look at the nearby states), so enforcement didn’t need to be a priority. Now, with such a gulf between Massachusetts and the rest of the country, it must be more strenuously enforced. And if it’s being applied equally, there shouldn’t be an issue with that.

Well, except for that whole “special rights” thing.

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