Massachusetts on Monday will celebrate
the tenth anniversary of the landmark ruling which legalized marriage
equality in the commonwealth.
The Supreme Judicial Court on November
18, 2003 for the first time in U.S. history declared a ban on gay
Despite attempts from opponents,
including then-Governor Mitt Romney, to reverse the ruling or contain
the spread of same-sex marriage beyond the state's borders, 15 other
states plus the District of Columbia have followed, 7 states in 2013
Mary Bonauto, civil rights project
director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), was
the lead attorney in the lawsuit which struck down the prohibition.
“With more same-sex marriages, you
saw more people changing their minds,” Bonauto
told the AP. “Seeing gay people with their extended families,
seeing the commitment, that's what has turned this around.”
Two states, New Mexico and Oregon, are
expected to move into the marriage equality column within the next 12
months, after which voter-approved bans are expected to slow
June's historic Supreme Court decision
which led the federal government to recognize the legal marriages of
gay couples is being used to counter those bans. Of the nearly two
dozen lawsuits filed challenging the bans, most cite the court's
criticism of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Opponents are already talking up next
year's expected slow down and framing it as a reversal of fortunes.
“Same-sex marriage represents a
classic conflict with religious freedom,” said Mathew Staver,
founder and chairman of the Christian conservative legal group
Liberty Counsel. “I think there will come a tipping point where
the pendulum will swing the other way as people begin to see the
impact of same-sex marriage.”