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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

High Noon for Gay Marriage

The Massachusetts gay marriage issue is older than the War on Terror.

It began April 11, 2001, when seven gay couples filed suit to be issued marriage licenses. On July 21, 2001, petitions began circulating to enact a so-called ‘Super-DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act)’. After collecting over 100,000 signatures, ten times the amount necessary, the constitutional amendment was sponsored by Rep. Phil Travis (D-Rehoboth). House 4840 stated that a marriage was between a man and a woman, and that ‘no other legal relationship would be recognized’. Senate President Birmingham began his complicated series of evasions, calling and then adjourning Constitutional Conventions, or Con Cons, without allowing debate or a vote on the matter.

Right there, the first mistake was made.

The Legislature began a series of maneuvers to prevent the matter from ever coming to a vote. Because of the stringent nature of Rep. Travis’ language, it would also have prohibited domestic partnership benefits for unmarried heterosexual couples, which were offered by many employers like Fidelity, John Hancock. All of those voters would probably have voted against the Super DOMA, and the whole businesses would have ended there. Instead, Birmingham continued with his coy bait-and-switch, calling and rapidly adjourning Con Cons.

The Supreme Judicial Court acted upon the 2001 suit. It stated that in the absence of an amendment, there were no grounds to deny a marriage license, and gay marriage was created. At that point in 2002, the Legislature had to act, and after a series of amendments were offered by the ‘Leadership’ of the Legislature, a Hobson’s choice was created. By amending the original language, a choice was given between voting no and allowing gay marriage to continue by denying the 100,000 signatures a vote, or voting yes and stating that marriage was between a man and a woman, but civil unions would be created. This satisfied nobody. As Rep Travis said, nobody had signed a petition to create civil unions.

Now, it is five years later. Another 70,000 signatures have been gathered, and the Legislature has a straightforward DOMA in front of it. It was filed in a different form, so it only needs 50 votes to go to the electorate instead of 100. Today, Senate President Traviglini will decide if a vote will be taken.

It is time. Those who say that he should maneuver and prevent a vote, killing the measure for two more years, need to understand that this will not go away. More signatures will be collected, another petition filed. Those who say that the petition is unconstitutional because it seeks to change a court interpretation are deluded. The same SJC that created gay marriage in a split vote also unanimously voted that an attempt to change the Constitution in the manner specified in the Constitution is proper, even if it does invalidate their judgment. It does not matter if you support or deride gay marriage. It is a proper subject for a vote, and has been voted on in over 30 other states. Porcupine is of the opinion that the gay marriage amendment will be defeated by the electorate, but by a much narrower margin that it would have been had people been allowed to vote on it in 2001. After all, those companies who offered domestic partnership benefits have begn to cancel them, on the grounds that now everybody can get married, and so marriage is a prerequisite for dometic partnership. He cannot say the same margin will prevail if the vote is again denied by the Legislature. People are angry that their initiative petitions have been voided or changed - the tax rollback, clean elections, a variety of proposals from all sides of the spectrum. There is a chance they will vote their anger instead of their conscience.


If a Legislator votes to refuse to allow a vote by the electorate, what is he saying about the judgment of the electorate that saw fit to place him in office?


Note: At 5:30 pm that day, Sen. President Traviglini adjourned the Session, saying that there was 'too much to consider in a single day'. The Session had begun at 2 pm. Sen. Traviglini adjoured the Session until Nov. 9th - two days after the election, so that the membership would not have to go on record about this matter.

24 Comments:

Blogger Renee said...

Recently a political advertisement paid for activists for gay marriage was endorsed by several dozen business leaders. These claimed people who oppose gay marriage should let things go and not push for a constitutional amendment to clarify our laws, because it was bad for our economy and other issues concerning Massachusetts. I’m sure people would think I would be irrational if I blamed gay activitism for the problems with the Big Dig. “If the state weren’t so busy with gay marriage we wouldn’t be having all the problems with the tunnel system in Boston.”

Gay activists are entitled to have their arguments heard in front of our courts, they are entitle to lobby for laws they deem to be appropriate and needed within in Massachusetts. It doesn’t mean the courts have to always side with them, and in this case they did. And it doesn’t mean the legislature has to enact the laws that they lobby. People who oppose gay marriage are also entitled to the same access to our government, if not through the courts or the legislature then let it be through our rights to amend our state constitution via ballot.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Christy're said...

I hope they let us vote!

1:04 PM  
Blogger Mark D. Snyder said...

IF people in Tennesee got a petition of 70,000 signatures to re-segregate schools do you think that should be put up for a vote? Do you think anything that takes away people's health care rights should be voted on by the majority?

Why don't we let the people vote to bring the troops home, then lets hear you chant let the people vote.

2:33 PM  
Blogger Renee said...

Let's say we vote to amend the Constitution, then the case goes above in front of the SJC again and the SJC still says it is still discrimination by means of gender orientation then so be it.


Techincally your hypothetical regarding Tennesee would is could happen. We made amendments at the feneral such as prohibiting alchohol only, only to re-amend allowing alchohol. Yes, removing a woman's right to vote or bringing back slavery could happen.

As for healthcare rights, what if there was a group that gathered enough signatures to abolish MassHealth for children and take away their health care rights as a ballot initiative? As of now I don't think adults in Massachusetts have health care "rights". If someone wanted to take thein initiative to bring back all of the Massachusetts National Gaurd from the Middle East, then they entitled to a vote. I think they would be allowed to lobby such a idea through our processes, and even though many of us disagree we have the right to lobby back.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Renee said...

Ooops...

Techincally your hypothetical regarding Tennesee could happen. We made amendments at the federal....

Sorry

2:53 PM  
Blogger the captain said...

How about this: If you’re straight, you don't get to vote on who I can marry.
Why should non gay people get to vote on who Gay people can marry?!
Let the Gay residents of Massachusetts decide their rights. Not a bunch of homo-phobic fear filled neanderthals who have nothing better to do than hate.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Renee said...

"Not a bunch of homo-phobic fear filled neanderthals who have nothing better to do than hate."

As a voter do you those types of comments will change my mind? Why not just tell me rationally, why gays should be married rather then throwing insults?

I doubt as a woman, it wouldn't of been helpful to call men misogynic SOBs in the campaign trying to gain the right to vote when men had to vote for that amendment to allow me to do so. We still have a form of democracy, where we can debate and argue ideas. No one will prevent gays from voting against the amendment or will prevent them to campaign to non-homosexuals to vote against the amendment when it hopefully ends up on the ballot in 2008.

9:31 PM  
Blogger the captain said...

You just don’t get it do you?! It's none of your business whether or not I get married or what I do with my life. I don't care what you do with your personal life so why do you care so much what I do with mine? That’s what I just don’t get about homophobes; why they are so damn concerned with homosexuality?! You might want to see someone professionally about that lady.
As for insults; that’s all I got my whole life! I grew up being called a dirty faggot and every message I got was one of hate, fear and ignorance.
And its people like you who continue the cycle of hatred with your superior sense of self-righteousness.
I owe you no explanation. I am angry, and I am sick and tired of being quiet and nice while the bigots and homophobes of the right bash others with their simple-minded hypocritical Bull S***!
So you go right ahead and vote your little heart out. But just remember, that this is the kind of karma that will come back to you someday…

7:42 AM  
Blogger Renee said...

Thank you for expanding your view point.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Cane247 said...

Don't forget the damn seatbelt laws either. Twice that law was repealed by referendum and twice it was shoved back down our throats. The ONLY answer to these effete blowhards is term limits, something else they'll never let us have.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Cane247 said...

Oh Captain my Captain. Why do you get to prohibit me from having more than one wife? It's none of your business who I marry either is it? I don't really object to gay marriage, it's the judicial fiat that I resent. And if we're tossing out the old Judeo-Christian ethics here let's toss them all out. Why can't my neighbor grow marijuna for his cancer strickened wife? Why is prostitution illegal? Gambling? Let's can all of these religious based biases and have real freedom for all of us. How about that?

1:19 PM  
Blogger Christy're said...

Yeah, I was feeling pretty on the fence--but I agree with the fact that we should be able to vote. However, after the insults and personal attacks by our captain, I'm pretty sure I'll vote against marriage just because I disagree with these "activist" (i.e. Big Fat Jerk) tactics.

Thanks for the insults, captain, you're the world's worst vote-getter.

6:53 PM  
Blogger tracifish said...

I'm so sick of the word "homophobe" being thrown around....I don't even know what to say...why do people care about how I vote anyway?

How do these arguments get so twisted?
I do not hate anybody...and am not voting on who individuals can't marry...am I?

12:16 AM  
Blogger the captain said...

Like you were going to vote the any other way? Right...

Homophobe:
A person who hates or fears homosexual people.

And by most of your comments, however much you want to deny it, you are.

7:37 AM  
Blogger Renee said...

That means none of us are homophobes. We are not scared of you or fear you, but we do object to certain sexual activity gays and lesbians engage in on philosophical reasons based on the human anatomy.

Marriage has a strong precendent to protect "coitus", not all sexual activity in which the activity is open to the creation of life. Women are venerable when they are pregnant and mothers of young and it is important to society that the father's of these children stay with the mothers, not just the kids.

I realize throughout several decades many family laws have changed making fathers simply partially supportive paychecks rather then dads, who should be their to their own flesh and blood.

We all understand people have called you horrible things, but none of us had. So please please reflect and realize no matter how upset I am at your choices with your Internet persona and behavior I don't hate or fear you.

Renee

8:09 AM  
Blogger Renee said...

Oops

"be there for their own flesh and blood"

8:11 AM  
Blogger the captain said...

Ok then Renee, then do me this one small favor: Mind your own business, and quit obsessing about Gay people. As many other people have written on your blog, is this really how a Christian would act; singling out one group of people to discriminate against?

You need a hobby, something to take away your obsession with homosexuality. Maybe take up knitting.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Peter Porcupine said...

Interesting when 'rights' activists turn sexist.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Deb Gianola said...

Dear Fellow Patriots,

A good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit (Matt 7:18). It is time you opened your eyes and thoughtfully absorb the consequences of supporting an administration for partisan, patriotic, or even religious purposes. I am sure that many of you who have staunchly defended these leaders have done so for altruistic purposes. However, there comes a point in time that one must sincerely consider, critique, and act upon facts rather than rhetoric.

How can any of you believe that George W. Bush is a man of God when the fruits of this man’s presidency are burning before our eyes? He has lied from day one of his candidacy for 2000, beginning with his claims of being a “Compassionate Conservative,” and a “Uniter, not a Divider,” and he continues to lie. Has America been a good neighbor under this administration? Have we been good world citizens? I would argue that we have not. We have not considered the innocent people of Iraq in our calculations, under the leadership of an administration that contradicts itself as it claims, “We are the liberators of Iraq,” while telling us that “We’d rather fight them over there.” We have not considered the brave patriots that we have squandered in our battle of false premise. We have not thoughtfully scrutinized not only the devastating impact upon the Middle East, but the impact that these actions have and will ultimately continue to have on American families. What happened to the good-will of the entire world for our country? They have not been wise stewards.

When will this man be held accountable for his lies and the devastating consequences of those lies? There was courage upon the “Hill” to impeach a president guilty of personal indiscretions, personal dishonesty, but when it comes to a president and his administration that has cost this world unquantifiable hardship and a disturbing loss of life that continues to unfold; cowardice is the mode of operation.

Our political leaders have used their pens to send our bravest citizens into what has now become a nest of barbarity while tacitly encouraging savagery that has already cost our soldiers and their families dearly. Why? They have flagrantly dismissed the rules of war and have consistently strived to circumvent the Constitution that they claim to defend. Why? They said is was to protect us. That was a lie. They said it was to liberate. That was a lie.

Are you going to be complacent in this struggle? We are fighting for more than the prevention of terrorism—we are fighting for our true moral purpose in this world. And I ask you, what is it that you think the moral purpose of our country is? Is it to bear good fruit, or is it to complacently rally our leaders regardless of their actions or the consequences of those actions?

We must fight with our pens now—pick up your pen for this country. Pick up your pen for our service men and women; pick up your pen in opposition to greed, in opposition to arrogance, in opposition to deceit, and in opposition to the oppression of our neighbors. This administration must be held accountable.


The pen is mightier than the sword.

A Tax Paying Citizen of the
United States of America

5:30 PM  
Blogger Lynne said...

Alrighty, then... Back on topic...

Say Captain, this is the democratic process. If you don't like this constitutional amendment, then convince us to vote for your position. Name-calling is not conductive to swaying someone's mind.

5:39 PM  
Blogger Kal said...

Look, heterosexuals have suffered for 2000 years, it's gay folks turn to suffer...

As a happily married (straight) person, I really don't think that gay marriage somehow degrades or lessens my commitment to my wife, or hers to me.

This is all about the state favoring one form of domestic partnership (via tax treatment, rules on medical caretaking, testimony, etc etc) over another. So long as the state is giving some sort of benefit, I think it should make that benefit available to all sets of "two consenting adults".

When all this was happening back in 2001/2002 a state rep offered what I thought was a pretty cogent argument.

Let the churches handle marriage, and let the state handle secular partnership scenarios, like they do in some parts of Europe. You could get married in the church, but you'd still have to get your "partnership" registered with the state. The term marriage would be the provence of the church, but the actual act of creating a legal union would be the provence of the state.

That way, should the catholic church determine that they cannot in good faith sanctify a gay marriage, well, it's not really any of the business of the state of Massachusetts, is it? But if the Unitarians wanted to sanctify gay unions, well, bully for them.

The bottom line is there are straight marriages that aren't about procreation, or a shams, or are damaging to the whole concept of marriage (The J. Howard Marshall/Anna Nicole Smith nuptuals, anyone?), just like there are homosexual couples who have been loving and true partners for decades.

I think for me it just boils down to "it's none of my business".
(by the way, the state rep who offered the idea was a Republican)

10:43 PM  
Blogger Christy're said...

I think the thing is that civil unions aren't on the table--marriages are, with all the religious baggage that entails.

I think I read that many polls have shown that people are overwhelmingly supportive of civil unions but not happy about gay marriage. That New York case this week also upheld that there's no discrimination in that--so I wonder why push gay marriage when offering up civil unions would pretty much end this fight?

10:24 AM  
Blogger the captain said...

"Interesting when 'rights' activists turn sexist."

Wow, the furthest thing from my mind,
but the first thing on yours. Hmmm...

9:10 PM  
Blogger Peter Porcupine said...

Captain - you told the lady to take up knitting - why not NASCAR driving? Your comment was sterotypical about women.

BTW - you are ALL missing the point. This is about a rogue Legislature, ignoring the expressed will of its citizenry. People on both side of this particular issue should be disgusted by that.

11:34 AM  

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