Polito to officiate at same-sex marriage of Senate leader
BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, a one-time staunch opponent of gay marriage, will officiate at the wedding of state Senate President Stan Rosenberg to his partner, Bryon Hefner, Rosenberg confirmed Wednesday.
Rosenberg, an Amherst Democrat, is the first openly gay person to lead a legislative chamber in Massachusetts. He was elected Senate president by his colleagues in January.
“We plan on keeping the details of the wedding private, but we are pleased that Karyn Polito has agreed to officiate this happy occasion,” Rosenberg said in a statement released by his office.
As a member of the state House of Representatives, Polito cast several votes between 2004 and 2007 in favor of a proposed amendment to the state constitution to ban gay marriage in Massachusetts.
Had it been approved, the amendment could have undone a 2003 Supreme Judicial Court ruling that made the Bay State the first in the nation to allow same-sex couples to marry. The amendment was defeated by the Legislature before it could go before voters.
The Shrewsbury Republican revealed that she had changed her position on gay marriage after teaming with now-Gov. Charlie Baker to form the Republican ticket for the 2014 gubernatorial election. Baker strongly supports gay marriage.
Polito’s shift rankled some social conservatives, while some marriage equality backers remained skeptical of her commitment to the issue.
Carly Burton, interim co-executive director of MassEquality, said in a statement the group was heartened by Polito’s “evolution” on same-sex marriage and hoped the lieutenant governor would back other legislation including proposed protections for transgender people in public accommodations.
The relationship between Rosenberg, 65, and Hefner, 27, briefly became news last year after Hefner allegedly mocked outgoing Senate President Therese Murray on Twitter and boasted that he could exert influence in the Legislature. That prompted Rosenberg to reassure his Democratic colleagues that he planned to enforce a “firewall” between his personal and professional lives.
Rosenberg announced in February that he and Hefner were engaged. No date has been announced for their wedding.
Polito has not commented publicly on her plans to officiate at the ceremony, first reported by The Boston Globe.