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March 12, 2004



Good afternoon.


Our elected representatives met yesterday and took the first steps toward passing an amendment to the state Constitution that defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman.


I applaud Senate President Travaglini, Speaker Finneran and all the members of the Legislature for conducting a respectful and thoughtful debate. As we saw, some people feel that the amendment changes the Constitution; I, and many others, feel that it preserves the Constitution.


This amendment process began after the state Supreme Judicial Court redefined marriage, setting aside thousands of years of recorded history and legal precedent.


The Court directed the Legislature to take action as it deemed appropriate. That’s just what the Legislature did yesterday.


The Legislature is now on a track to put this issue before the voters. Ultimately, this is as it should be: the people of our state will decide.


I know there are deeply held personal convictions around this issue. There are real people and real lives that are affected. On a matter of such significance and with such tender sentiment involved, I would ask that we continue to show respect and consideration for those of differing views.


For all of us, the rule of law is bedrock. We’ve seen the lawlessness that has erupted in other states and how it undermines the higher purposes we all seek to preserve.


I know there’s been a lot of speculation about what action I will take as Governor of the Commonwealth. Until the Legislature completes its work at the end of this month, I will have no comment on the options before me.


But let me state clearly that whatever I do will be within the bounds of the law. Just as the Legislature is working within the constitutional and legal structure of our state, I will do the same.


The Legislature has taken the first step. As the process continues, let us hope the final step will be taken by the people.


Thank you.

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