Opponents of same-sex marriages are seeking a ballot question that would prevent gay and lesbian couples from getting married here if their union wouldn't be legal in their home state.
Brian Camenker of the group Mass Resistance said Friday lawmakers and Gov. Deval Patrick bowed to the will of the "gay lobby" last month by approving the repeal of a 1913 statute that banned such marriages.
Patrick, the state's first black governor and the father of a daughter who recently announced she's a lesbian, said the 1913 law had racial undertones from a period when interracial marriage was discouraged.
"The Legislature and the governor changed our marriage laws to please the well-connected minority and force a social experiment into other states that's very offensive to a majority of the people, at least the way the votes have been going," Camenker said, referring to recent votes in favor of gay marriage bans in other states.
He was particularly critical of an emergency preamble attached to the repeal. It bypassed a normal 90-day waiting period and made the law effective immediately. Opponents typically use the 90 days to present signatures and delay the law until it can be put to a ballot vote.
"The fact that this happened the way it happened just adds to the sense of sleaziness and underhandedness of the whole process," Camenker said.
The group will need about 32,000 signatures to get their question on the ballot.
Gay marriage advocates who had celebrated the repeal said they were disappointed but not surprised by the petition.