"There are very few laws on the books that I can say that I'm ashamed that they're on the books," state Sen. Mark Montigny, a New Bedford Democrat, says in a Boston Globe story. He said he opposed the law because of the "immorality of discrimination."
That was the comment that really struck me. I'm glad that someone stated the matter simply and clearly. Discrimination is immoral.
The 1913 law was originally intended to prevent interracial couples from getting married in Massachusetts if the marriage was illegal in their home states. It was passed at the height of the scandal over black heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson's interracial marriages.
"This is a very simple law, contrived in shame, and it exists in shame and we ought to wipe it off the books," Montigny said.
I'm glad Massachusetts lawmakers, and the general public, realize that the sky hasn't fallen since gay marriage was made legal in 2004. Giving gay and lesbian couples their rights as Americans hasn't taken away rights from anyone else. I believe that the opposite is true - a more just society benefits everyone.
The road to equal rights for all Americans has been a long and tortuous one and progress doesn't happen nearly fast enough. But we're getting there. And today is one of the good days.Update: At Media Nation, Dan has a great post that points out just how far we've come in the debate over gay marriage.