New Englanders like to say they are cautious or reasonable. A lot of other people would call it paranoid or untrusting.
That goes way back to colonial Massachusetts. The early British-appointed governors were gun-shy about church and state issues, having just come from a country where the priests and royalty were too chummy. On one hand, the locals around Boston said they were very pious. On the other, they forbade ministers from performing marriages. It was okay for a minister to say a few words at a wedding, but he shouldn't worry his pretty head about the legal issues. The commonwealth was making it marriage; God wasn't.
The commonwealth constitution defines marriage as a civil contract, not a sacrament. Hmmm. That, if you pardon the expression, laid the ground for the recent decision saying that homosexual couples could marry.
Massachusetts also has an apparently unique process that lets any adult petition the governor the right to perform one marriage for one couple on one day. I've done that once for a straight couple and shall do it next month for a gay one.
Let's talk and think about why the laws and customs here are so queer.