From the Associated Press:
Massachusetts lawmakers voted Thursday to block a proposed constitutional amendment that would have let voters decide whether to ban gay marriage in the only state that currently allows it.
The narrow vote was a victory for gay marriage advocates and a devastating blow to efforts to reverse the historic 2003 state court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.
The proposal needed 50 votes to advance to the 2008 ballot. It got 45, with 151 lawmakers opposed.
Opponents of gay marriage vowed to press on, but Thursday's defeat after more than three years of sometimes wrenching debate could prove insurmountable. Any effort to mount a new ballot question would take years at a time political support in Massachusetts is swinging firmly behind gay marriage.
For gay couples, the vote marked what could be the end of a struggle that began in 2001, when seven same-sex couples, denied marriage licenses, sued in Suffolk Superior Court.
More than 8,500 same sex couples have married in Massachusetts since it became legal in May 2004.