The Massachusetts Experience: Attempting To Amend Its State Constitution Regarding Marriage?
Under Article 48 of the Massachusetts Constitution, there are two ways to amend the state constitution. One way is the initiative amendment, which requires a certain amount of signatures from the citizenry plus more than 25% of the combined legislature sitting as a constitutional convention over two successive legislative sessions. The other way is the legislative amendment, which requires a bill to be approved by more than 50% of the combined legislature sitting as a constitutional convention over two separate legislatures. Either way, the amendment must ultimately be placed on the ballot to be ratified by a majority of the popular vote. As if they were behind Doors Number One, Two, and Three on some exotic state constitutional game show, the various Massachusetts constitutional amendments that have been proposed regarding marriage can be discussed chronologically as Amendments One, Two, and Three, two initiative amendments with a now-dead legislative amendment in between; they are a kind of amendment sandwich with a gooey middle.
Dwight G. Duncan, The Massachusetts Experience Attempting to Amend Its State Constitution regarding Marriage, 7 FLA. COASTAL L. REV. 221 (2005).