Massachusetts lawmakers Thursday threw out a proposed constitutional amendment that would have let voters decide whether to ban gay marriage in the only state that allows it.
The vote was a devastating blow to efforts to reverse a 2003 court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.
An amendment now can't reach voters before 2010. That would happen only with a successful new petition drive and the backing of 50 lawmakers in two consecutive sittings of the 200-seat Legislature - including the one that just rejected the ballot measure.
Such a scenario appeared increasingly unlikely, but opponents of gay marriage vowed to press on.