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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Now is the time to exercise your rights

UMass students,

Yesterday’s [Tuesday’s] ruling on gay marriage by the Massachusetts Supreme Court marks the beginning of a 180-day journey to a historic juncture. Your state legislators must either legalize gay marriage in some form or amend the state Constitution to prohibit it. They now stand in the position to decide, more or less once and for all, whether Massachusetts will recognize gay relationships or sweep them under a policy rug, whether it will reward committed couples or encourage promiscuity.

Even if you had never planned to exercise your rights as Massachusetts residents, I urge you to do so now. Write to state legislators and encourage them to legalize gay marriage. Emphasize that domestic partnerships will not do. Such arrangements undermine the institution of marriage by presenting couples with ways to formalize their relationship without the huge (and important) commitment that usually comes with marriage.

It needs to be all or nothing. Halfway is more a problem than a solution. I was recently reminded that one of the major advantages of our Federalist system is the freedom it gives states to experiment with different policies. Seen in this way, states are laboratories where creative solutions to social problems can be tested out.

The possibility of gay marriage in Massachusetts represents an opportunity to try one such solution. I have faith that its legalization will not wreak havoc on the family. On the other hand, it just might give other states a model for strengthening their commitment to commitment.

David GinnPrinceton, NJ