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Governor William F. Weld '66 has sagaciously decided that Massachusetts will recognize gay marriages attained in other states after a Hawaiian Circuit Court judge ruled against a ban on legalizing homosexual union. Hawaii's Supreme Court may ultimately strike down the lower court's ruling--which has already been stayed--that the state must show an as-yet unproven compelling interest in order to deny marriage to homosexuals. But the willingness of the Governor to take this step toward legitimizing gay marriages in Massachusetts and elsewhere is encouraging. Furthermore, we hope he and the Massachusetts government will follow Hawaii's example and legalize homosexual marriages in this state.
By accepting Hawaii's validation of gay marriages with all of the legal benefits that the institution entails, Weld has effectively agreed to legalize gay marriage. Though homosexuals would still not be able to be married in Massachusetts, they would only be required to go to Hawaii for the civil ceremony and return to a life of married legitimacy. Since airfare for two to Hawaii is no small sum, it will still be difficult for poorer homosexuals to marry. Unlike Hawaii, neither Massachusetts' nor the federal government's constitutions have privacy clauses or bans on gender discrimination written into them. So Weld's decision is the quickest and easiest way for gays to obtain marriage rights here.
Legalizing marriage between homosexuals serves to promote freedom by ensuring that the state refrains from the regulation of private morality. It is not the place of the government to dictate which person is able to marry another based on his or her sexual orientation any more than it is the government's responsibility to interfere in racial or religious considerations of this sort. Legalizing homosexual marriage places it on equal footing with heterosexual marriage and advances true freedom of choice.
The legalization of gay marriage does not only serve as a moral boon to homosexuals, but as an economic one as well. If all goes well with the Hawaiian Supreme Court's decision, then homosexuals in Massachusetts can look forward to sharing in everything from their spouse's health and dental insurance plans to their estates after death. Moreover, legalizing gay marriage allows for the adoption of children by homosexuals and their full participation in communal lives as husbands and wives, mothers and fathers. We applaud Governor Weld's decision to extend greater measures of freedom and equality to homosexuals.
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