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Massachusetts: legislature gives first approval to anti-gay marriage amendment

Reuters reports: Massachusetts lawmakers approved a measure on Tuesday that could give voters a chance next year to ban gay marriage in the only U.S. state where it is legal and overturn a historic ruling by the state's highest court. ...

With hundreds of protesters on both sides of the emotionally charged issue chanting slogans outside the gold-domed Statehouse, 61 lawmakers voted to advance the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage -- more than enough needed under state law for such initiatives. ...

If it clears another legislative test expected by early next year, Massachusetts residents will vote on it in 2008. ...

Although a majority in the Democratic-controlled state legislature voted against it, the measure needed only 50 votes to pass. It also was backed by 170,000 Massachusetts voters who signed a petition along with social conservatives including Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, a probable White House contender. -- Massachusetts lawmakers approve gay marriage vote | Politics News | Reuters.com

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