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Tuesday, April 6 12:00 AM EST

Massachusetts Legislature Debates Different-Sex Marriage Ban

By Seth Brown

Boston, MA - After weeks of fevered debates, the Massachusetts Legislature has yet to rule on the different-sex marriage ban. Various forms of the ban have proposed, but Representatives have yet to reach an agreement.

House Speaker Thomas Finneran, an openly straight Democrat, spoke passionately against the amendment. "This debate shouldn't be about what religion or political group people may think is right. I love the woman who has been my partner and helped me to raise our two daughters, and I hardly think it's the government's place to tell me that our partnership is invalid."

"I almost lost a member of my family last night when I voted for the ban," said State Senator Jarrett T. Barrios, "But just because one of my family members is straight doesn't mean that I won't do what I think is right.

Statistically, nearly half of all different-sex marriages end in divorce. Divorce has a deep negative effects on children, which has led some critics to insist that dissolving different-sex marriages is essential to promoting effective child-welfare.

As Democratic Senator Brian Joyce explains, "We are more likely to achieve peace in the Middle East this century than we are to have men and women understand one another in any substantial way."

Many arguments were made that the sanctity of marriage would be threatened if different-sex marriage is allowed to continue. Besides the high divorce rates, domestic violence commonly occurs in different-sex marriages.

Representative Philip Travis argues the ban is unfair. "You may have straight friends," warns Travis, "you may have straight colleagues, you may even have straight family members. They just want the same legal rights as you and I. History has shown that 'Together but Unequal' does not work."

Unfortunately, for Travis, George W. Bush announced last month his intent to support a constitutional amendment to ban different-sex marriage.

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"After more than two millenniums of human experience, we know that men and women cannot, will not get along," said the president. "We have seen too much domestic violence, divorce, and angry discussions over the positions of toilet seats. We must set a clear policy by stopping it once and for all."

House Speaker Finneran believes that Bush's comments may be the result of a misguided heterophobia. Says Finneran, "I never imagined this would happen two weeks ago when Bush announced that he was gay."

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