Out-of-state gay couples will soon be able to go to Massachusetts to get married.
The state House voted Tuesday to repeal a 1913 law that has been used to prevent gay marriages involving out-of state couples. The state Senate approved the repeal earlier in July and the measure passed the House 119-36.
Gov. Deval Patrick has said he will sign the bill.
Opponents argue repealing the ban will cause meddling in the affairs of other states.
"We certainly don't want to see Massachusetts exporting this radical social experiment to the other 49 states, and that's what this would do," Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, told The Boston Globe. The institute plans to mobilize and oppose the repeal effort.
State Representative John Lepper says sanctioning a marriage that is illegal elsewhere would "create a relationship and then set it adrift to settle in a disapproving state."
Supporters have argued that removing the law would put Massachusetts on par with California, where a court ruled in May that gay marriage was legal for all couples, including those who live out of state. Some have also said the repeal would allow Massachusetts to experience the economic boon California is enjoying.
Gay-rights advocates argue that the issue is about equality.
"This is question of fairness, and it is a question of equity," Rep. Byron Rushing, D-Boston, said.
Rushing says that continuing to ban out-of-state gays from marrying was unfair after the state's highest court ruled in 2003 that gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to be married.
Massachusetts became the first state to allow gay marriage in 2004. However, then-Gov. Mitt Romney ordered city and town clerks to enforce the 1913 law to prevent out-of-state same-sex couples from marrying.
The law prohibits couples from marrying if it would be illegal in their home states.
Source: The Associated Press, The Boston Globe, CBN News