The Bay State's legislature has voted to keep a gay marriage amendment off the November 2008 ballot.
Because fewer than 50 of the state's 200 lawmakers supported the amendment, it will not appear on the 2008 ballot, giving gay marriage advocates a major victory in their battle with social conservatives to keep same-sex marriage legal in Massachusetts.
Opponents of gay marriage face an increasingly tough battle to win legislative approval of any future petitions to appear on a statewide ballot. The next election available to them is 2012.
The movement for a gay marriage ban fulfilled at least one of its goals—Mitt Romney got some truly awesome photo-ops out of it. But does anyone think there'll be less of an appetite for legal gay marriage five years from now? The pro-amendment movement might stir and moan in a persistent vegetative state for a while, but it's basically been vanquished.
Reason's been all over the gay marriage issue: Gay Marriage author Jonathan Rauch made the case against the Federal Marriage Amendment here. Gay libertarian journalist Jamie Kirchick argued for Massachusetts scheduling a gay marriage amendment vote back in February, in Brainwash.
UPDATE: A statement from Mitt:
Today's vote by the State Legislature is a regrettable setback in our efforts to defend traditional marriage. Unfortunately, our elected representatives decided that the voice of the people did not need to be heard in this debate. It is now even more important that we pass a Constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage. Marriage is an institution that goes to the heart of our society, and our leaders can no longer abdicate their responsibility.
Odd argument: Seven months ago Massachusetts voters had the chance to elect a legislature and governor who would have opposed gay marriage or supported a vote on the ban. They chose to elect a bunch of pro-gay marriage Democrats.