The Travaglini-Lees Amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution was proposed by Massachusetts State Senate President Robert E. Travaglini (D - Boston) and Massachusetts State Senate Minority Leader Brian P. Lees (R - East Longmeadow). It was passed by a vote of 105 yeas to 92 nays in Joint Session March 29th, 2004. The purpose of the amendment was to not only define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, but to also create civil unions. It was enacted in response to the Supreme Judicial Court's ruling in Goodridge v. Massachusetts.
The amendment will now be forwarded to the next session of the Massachusetts legislature, which convenes in 2005. If the amendment is passed again by that legislature it would be placed on the 2006 general ballot. Should it pass that vote, it will be added to the state Constitution.
"The unified purpose of this Article is both to define the institution of civil marriage and to establish civil unions to provide same-sex persons with entirely the same benefits, protections, rights, privileges and obligations as are afforded to married persons, while recognizing that under present federal law benefits same-sex persons in civil unions will be denied federal benefits available to married persons.
It being the public policy of this Commonwealth to protect the unique relationship of marriage, only the union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in the commonwealth. Two persons of the same sex shall have the right to form a civil union if they otherwise meet the requirements set forth by law for marriage. Civil unions for same sex persons are established by the Article and shall provide entirely the same benefits, protections, rights, privileges and obligations that are afforded to persons married under the law of the commonwealth. All laws applicable to marriage shall also apply to civil unions.
This Article is self-executing, but the general court may enact laws not inconsistent with anything herein contained to carry out the purpose of this Article."