It appears that the Massachusetts legislature has less options than I had thought. When I first mentioned the possibility of amending the Massachusetts Constitution within 180 days, I must concede that I thought it implausible. After reading up on the method for constitutional amendment in Massachusetts, such an option appears impossible. To amend the Massachusetts Constitution requires 25% of the state legislature in two consecutive two-year sessions to vote to present the question to the people for a vote. Thus, any amendment started by the legislature could not succeed until 2006, and obviously could not meet the 180 day “deadline.”
Another suggestion that I have heard bandied about is offering some kind of a Vermont-style civil union substitute. Given the sweeping language of today’s court decision, it is dubious at best whether such an option is still viable. While the legislature could offer it, the court is likely to simply enter its order in 180 days, and thereby alter the state’s definition of marriage. For gay marriage proponents, why have civil unions, when the court has already granted them equal access to the civil institution of marriage?