Thursday, July 10, 2008

Harkening Back ...

Apologies to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ...

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Harry Ney Stearns,
On the seventh of March, in nineteen thirteen;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

Section 11. No marriage shall be contracted in this commonwealth by a party residing and intending to continue to reside in another jurisdiction if such marriage would be void if contracted in such other jurisdiction, and every marriage contracted in this commonwealth in violation hereof shall be null and void. Mass. Gen. L. ch. 207, § 11 (2005)

Back in 1913, the Massachusetts legislature gave a big ol' blowjob to the rampant racism running roughshod through the nation. Although interracial marriage was legal in Massachusetts, the legislature decided to protect the racist values of other states and bar out-of-state interracial couples from marrying in Massachusetts if they could not be married in their home state.

But times change, and the 1913 law eventually became obsolete. Racism became less trendy, and no one wanted to be seen actively participating anymore. Since interracial couples could now be married in every state, the 1913 was no longer relevant, and had probably been long forgotten.

Ah, but then we all received a lesson in why bad laws must be removed from the books with all haste!

In 2004, while people of conscience everywhere were celebrating the newly affirmed right of gays and lesbians to marry in Massachusetts, Governor Mitt Romney decided that digging up old racist laws wasn't beneath him. (He is a Republican after all. Nothing is beneath him.) Since even the ancient bigots of 1913 had the good sense to pretend they weren't bigots, the law didn't mention interracial marriage. It just said that couples who couldn't be married in their home state couldn't be married in Massachusetts.

Grasping at straws, feebly unable to see that society was moving forward and leaving them behind, Governor Romney and his team of biggoty nitwits (like Brian Camenker, the Clown of the Daily Show, and Rep. Elizabeth Poirier, who should be known as Bigoted Betty, the Bitch of Bristol) dug up the old law and used it to prevent out-of-state same-sex couples from marrying in Massachusetts. Using racist old laws doesn't bother people like Bigoted Betty, she's a Republican, and nothing is beneath her.

Maybe things will finally change! Don't let Bigoted Betty steer you wrong.

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