Angela Beasley, I am a long-time NC resident who now lives in MA. I love NC but you cannot even compare MA to NC. Its a different world. Up here, it is all about living and letting live. Anyone can get married if they choose. An ounce of reefer or less is a small civil fine. The list goes on and you cannot really compare it to NC. And guess what?
Its actually quite peaceful and harmonious. We look out for one another by proudly participating in a system whereas everyone has health insurance (come up and see if you can find anyone who would change what we have...I challenge you). We educate our children well and are willing to pay quite well for it--my son will attend a public high school where the average SAT score is 1390. Yes, a public high school. We have almost no crime in most of MA. Sounds pretty nice, huh?
No one cares if you believe in God, which God you believe in, or even if you believe in a God, at all. It's just not a part of the mindset here--despite our Puritanical roots. You pose a question about the availability of research on how gay marriage has "impacted" MA. I am sure there is research out there, but I would implore you to be VERY skeptical of any research that paints reality and life in MA in too negative a light.
MA has not been impacted by the legalization of gay marriage because, frankly, no one gives a shit. It doesn't negatively impact anyone and it positively impacts a great number of people. Opposition to the original amendment was almost null--less than 20%. There have been attempts to change the law, but it is always comes from out of state and is soundly pummeled upon arrival.
Cases such as the Parkers and Wirthlins case you site are a joke and are swiftly disposed of in a reality-based community. You see, in reality-based communities such as MA, schools strive to be safe and nurturing environments for our children...environments that seek to expand childrens' minds about the world around them. Gay people, black people, brown people, purple people, green people, religious people, areligious people, etc...are all around us. Thus, MA schools maintain that children can learn about such things. To do otherwise would be a disservice by providing a definitively false view of the world and a divisive, potentially dangerous world to our children.
See, in MA, some kids have two mommies while others have two daddies. And in MA, these children are in our schools--and thriving--just like every other child. What would a case such as Parkers and Wirthlins do other than ostracize and isolate some children?
I love NC and am proud (albeit decreasingly so in lieu of issues such as this) to have called it my long-time home. I have many great friends who remain in NC. MA retains a lot from our long history and has managed to retain much of the spirit upon which this nation was founded. In fact, it operates very much in line with what Thomas Jefferson espoused in the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797--here is the key passage:
"...As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries...."
A government in a Democracy is meant to promote and protect the rights of all. There is nothing democratic about passing laws to define the rights of some while restricting the rights of others. Gay people in MA never have and never will want to "force" other people to do anything. In fact, MA law does not mandate or require churches or places of worship to conduct gay marriage ceremonies.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, however, does have a rather broad set of laws that seek to protect the rights of everyone in the Commonwealth. The instances you cite, such as the one Romney passed in 2004 requiring civil servants to perform homosexual marriages, are largely over-blown. These are civil servants we are talking about here...people who willingly take jobs that mandate that they are representatives of the Commonwealth. This law states that, as a civil servant, you are required to work within the laws and Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. If you have religious beliefs that would prevent you from executing the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Commonwealth, then you either deal with it or quit.
Finally, wedding photographers, caterers, etc...are not arrested if they refuse to participate in gay marriages. I have no idea where this non-sense comes from. Most of the instances you cite relate to public institutions--schools and civil servants--and these institutions are under the purview of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and, as such, must uphold the rights and statutes guaranteed in the Constitution and state law.
who is this hateful "god" to which some of you refer and what does it have to do with making laws in the USA? Read the Treaty of Tripoli from 1797.
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