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A deadly move against same-sex marriage

The politics may be even more complicated than you think, but the issue is easy to understand
By EDITORIAL  |  January 3, 2007

There was never any real question that the legislature, convened in a Constitutional Convention, would vote on the bigoted proposal to ban marriage between couples of the same sex.

The vile jaw-boning of the thankfully now ex-governor Mitt Romney had nothing to do with it.

Likewise, the admonition of the state’s Supreme Judicial Court had little to do with it.

The issue, as Phoenix political writer David S. Bernstein pointed out before this week’s dispiriting vote, was guaranteed to come to a vote because Senate president Robert Travaglini thought it should.

Unfortunately, by denying that reality, the people fighting on the side of the angels magnified the scope of the victory won by gay-marriage opponents.

Senate president Travaglini has been clear for some time that he thought this noxious measure should come to a vote. And he has been equally clear that he opposes same-sex-marriage rights and favors civil unions.

There might have been a time when it was appropriate, perhaps even reasonable, to debate the relative merits of each. There was a time when voting for civil unions would have been welcome. Indeed, there’s a strong case to be made for simply eliminating “marriage” from our legal lexicon altogether, and referring to all who choose to enter into this civil contract as “civil unions.”

But the time for that debate has long since passed. And it is dishonest to pretend otherwise.

It took a common-sense reading of the state constitution to not only put the issue of same-sex marriage on the agenda, but, by doing so, to change the very nature of the agenda itself.

The issue today isn’t civil unions, it’s marriage: the right of people of the same sex to do what people of the opposite sex have been able to do since beyond memory. The bigots, the rednecks, the haters (and let’s be clear, that’s what the core opponents of same-sex marriage are) have so far succeeded in their mind game of convincing enough legislators that because marriage has throughout history legally joined people only of the opposite sex, it must forever be so. By that measure, women and African Americans would still be chattel, the property of their husbands or owners.

Public officials like Travaglini and Senator John Kerry who try to straddle the fence on this issue effectively comfort those with the same historical mindset — the dangerously unimaginative one — that wanted to preserve slavery, deny women the vote, and deny African-Americans and other ethnic minorities their just measure of the national dream. When those debates were at full throttle in years past, there were plenty of well-meaning moderates sympathetic to the civil-rights issues at hand who simply could not see the disastrous consequences of their equivocation and accommodation of outright prejudice.

Just as we cannot turn back the clock, we cannot stop the march of time. And the time for men and women who are gay and lesbian to be able to marry the people they love has come.

It is as criminal to deny our neighbors that right today as it was 50 years ago to deny black southerners their rights. It’s as simple as that.

On his way out of the State House, Mitt Romney has left Massachusetts a nasty legacy: punishingly high local property taxes, an unexpected billion dollar deficit, and a mobilized gang of rednecks.

Every dog, of course, has his day. Never mind that Romney’s last “victory” was really Travaglini’s will.

If the struggle for civil rights in the 1950s and ’60s showed us anything, it’s that progress isn’t linear. It jerks along. It comes in fits and starts. But it comes.

Public officials like Senate president Travaglini need to be educated, to be convinced, that the time for sitting on the fence has passed. That to oppose in any way, shape, or form the right of gay and lesbian people to enjoy the same right as so-called straight people to marry — in name and in fact — is to act like a bigot.

Bigot is, to be sure, a nasty name. But what would you call someone who denied women or blacks the right to vote? Or said to women and African-Americans, or even to recently naturalized citizens, that, sure, you can vote, but your vote will count as only a fraction of that of a man or white people or those born in this nation. That is the difference between supporting civil unions or full marriage rights.

Governor Deval Patrick gets it. He understands that the time has come to not only grant full marriage rights to all Massachusetts’s citizens, but to call it “marriage.” And his unqualified support for gay marriage on the eve of the State House vote is a heartening indication that the battle next time will be joined and led from the top.

Gay marriage will come up for a vote in the next legislative session. The idea that our state constitution, which is older than our national constitution, must be amended to specifically prohibit gay marriage should be defeated.

A first step in making that happen is to e-mail Senate president Robert Travaglini (with a copy to every state senator who voted yes on this deadly lunge at basic civil rights) this simple message:

Dear President Travaglini: Please support equal rights for all. Please support gay marriage and defeat the measure to amend our constitution by whatever means are necessary.

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A deadly move against same-sex marriage
Please, can you think of a smaller minority than the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court? They created this alleged right and imposed it on the Commonwealth. The current prevailing minority vote in the legislature merely enables the people of the Commonwealth to vote on the issue so the people as a whole can determine the issue. Liberals across the country have attempted for decades to use the courts to impose legislation by fiat that they can not achieve by ballot. This is a victory for democracy over oligarchy!
By Krogy on 01/03/2007 at 10:35:30
A deadly move against same-sex marriage
So then I guess Brown Vs. the Board of Education was liberals using the courts to legislate the fact that segregation in the south was not only immoral but also unconstitutional. This is not about democracy. This is about peoples personal rights and liberties that a small group of narrow minded people feel they have the right to dictate. Also, to say that Massachusetts SJC forced anything upon the population of Massachusetts is ludicrous, that would then imply that straight people are what now forced to marry someone of the same sex? Masking this hateful agenda in the stars and stripes and calling it a victory for democracy is only masking the true idenity of such an initiative, which is pure and simple homophobia and hate.
By CSirois on 01/04/2007 at 9:30:56
A deadly move against same-sex marriage
CSirois, are you suggesting that gay marriage is a civil right? Blacks in particular take extreme umbrage at that notion. Jeff Jacoby wrote a rather good column on that claim called “Gay marriage isn't civil rights” on 3/7/2004. If only a “small group of narrow minded people” oppose gay marriage, you will certainly prevail at the ballot box and have nothing to fear. As soon as you claim gay marriage is a civil right, then the equal protection clause of the constitution comes into play. If gays have a right to marry same sex partners, why not polygamists, those who want to marry their pets, etc.? That is a Pandora’s Box that few people want to open.
By Krogy on 01/04/2007 at 2:40:41
A deadly move against same-sex marriage
Bravo Krogy here is another example of an extreme fear tatic used to scare people at the thought of gay marriage. Get over it and find something new and to answer your question yes I do believe that marriage either for a gay or straight couple is a civil right. Also, unless you are yourself African-American I would not speak for the "black opinion" on gay marriage. There are many people within the black community that are either for or against gay marriage as is the case with many other groups. Again in reference to your comment regarding the African-American communities views on gay marriage the California branch of the NAACP endorsed leglastion in Califorina that would give gays and lesbians and equal right to marriage and also the NAACP as a whole was against the federal attempt to ban gay marriage.
By CSirois on 01/04/2007 at 2:59:32
A deadly move against same-sex marriage
// Patrick's 'oath' By Charles Fried | January 5, 2007 Patrick demonstrated his unfitness for office twice. First, in the wake of the Supreme Judicial Court's ruling that the legislature had a duty to vote on the constitutional amendment, he made the rounds of the legislature urging them to ignore their constitutional responsibilities. Second, he wants to end petition initiatives. There is nothing more fundamental to democracy than the right of the people to petition their government. Now he wants to selectively enforce the laws of the Commonwealth. I thought he took an oath of office to uphold all the laws and the constitution of the Commonwealth.
By Krogy on 01/05/2007 at 10:18:42
A deadly move against same-sex marriage
If anyone wants to know how committed homosexual activists are to the rule of law, go the Massachusetts. First, the Supreme Court of Massachusetts imposed same sex marriage on the people of that state by judicial fiat. The claim that homosexuals have a civil right to marry is a joke. A casual reading in American legal history and the British common law will reveal that homosexuals do not have a civil right to marriage or anything like it. Indeed, homosexuality was a crime under the common law. It was activist judges on the bench who abused their position to impose their political opinions on the public that created the so called civil right to marry for gays. Second, the recent events in the Massachusetts legislature is additional evidence of how little respect gay activists and their supporters have for the law. It was only after a lot of pressure was put on the legislature that they did what the Constitution clearly required them to do. Even then it was done on the last possible day of the legislative session. Voters who support traditional marriage are heros. It takes a great deal of courage to stand up for what is good and decent. Traditional marriage is good for America and her future. Traditional marriage is good for children and their future. Only a truly despicable human being can find sexual pleasure in the anus of another human being. The homosexual lifestyle has nothing to offer anyone but disease and corruption. Let us stand up and fight for goodness in America and fight for the family.
By elleryqueen on 01/05/2007 at 7:30:22
A deadly move against same-sex marriage
CSirois, is this another example of an extreme fear tatic used to scare people at the thought of gay marriage? // Legalized polygamy, here we come Posted: January 6, 2007 1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Krogy on 01/06/2007 at 4:14:20
A deadly move against same-sex marriage
to krogy: right. because people's pets have legal standing and can sign a marriage license. good job.
By ahpoe on 01/10/2007 at 12:40:23

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