Left In Lowell

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June 14, 2007

Con Con Time

by at 12:41 pm.

In less than one hour, at 1:00 p.m.the Massachusetts State Legislature will meet in a joint session to once again decide if our state’s constitution may include an amendment denying certain citizens their civil and human rights.

Article of Amendment: When recognizing marriages entered into after the adoption of this amendment by the people, the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall define marriage only as the union of one man and one woman.

The initiative requires 50 votes in order to pass. Not a majority or a plurality, merely 50 votes. As we have discussed numerous times on LiL, during the last vote Lowell’s State Senator Steve Panagiatakos and State Representative David Nangle voted in favor of putting this amendment on the ballot; while State Reps Kevin Murphy and Tom Golden voted against it.

Perhaps this time, the votes from the Lowell legislative delegation will be unanimous and they will all realize that a personal choice is just that, a personal choice. Or as Lynne suggested last month, “If you can’t vote no, abstain!”

You can watch (maybe) the live webcast on the Legislature’s web site. I said maybe, because during last year’s debate, they had numerous technical difficulties.

Ryan is liveblogging as well as Bay Windows, the Boston-based newspaper serving the Gay community.

I am optimistic. I think the trio of Patrick, Murphy and DiMasi will put an end to this attempted injustice once and for all.

10 Responses to “Con Con Time”

  1. waittilnextyr Says:

    Looks like only 45 “yes”, so it apparently won’t move to popular vote.

  2. Marianne Says:

    We won!

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Marianne… the voters of the commonwealth of Massachusetts didn’t win in any way.

  4. Tim Little Says:

    Anon: How not? The process worked prescisely as it was supposed to; there’s not much to beef about.

  5. Mr. Lynne Says:

    The petitioners got exactly what they were entitled to. The process had to clear several hurdles and it failed on one of them. Nothing illegitemate about it.

  6. Muronao Says:

    anon, the voters of the Commonwealth, even us straight ones, believe in civil rights, believe it or not. We don’t think anyone has the right to approve or not approve someone else’s marriage (and I bet you believe the same, when it comes to your own marriage, you don’t think I have the right to prevent you from marrying by a vote, do you?). Not only did you people get what you wanted, an up or down vote by the people’s representatives, you actually shouldn’t have even gotten that, since the constitution explicitly prohibits the Legislature from voting on citizen sponsored iniatives that seek to overturn judicial decisions. So that makes you extra lucky.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    You think I’m a shill…you are wrong! And you are wrong if you think I am anti gay marriage. Gender has nothing to do with being entitled. I am an incredibly strong advocate of rights of the majority. If you really believed in the ‘rights of the people’, you wouldn’t have achieved your goal by threats, coercion, bribery and over a million dollars thrown at the fight. You would have let it go to a referendum vote of the people of the commonwealth and let the chips fall where they may. Citizen sponsored initiatives are the basis of our government. That is democracy. I applaud the ‘yes’ voters who stood up for their convictions against overwhelming pressure. Someone here refers to them as prejudiced…what a small minds you have. Anyone who disagrees with you is considered prejudiced.. lovely! How many reps switched their votes at the last minute or just didn’t show up in one case because they were intimidated by lobbyists and organized gay groups? How many jobs, etc. did the governor offer for votes? Is that your idea not being prejudiced? How is it that every other state in the union is wrong and MA is right about this issue? Our state government is as corrupt as ever.

  8. Mr. Lynne Says:

    “Citizen sponsored initiatives are the basis of our government. That is democracy.”

    You mean the government where the legislature has to approve the initiative before it gets on the ballot?… that government?

    You may think that the rules need to change… actually so do I. I happen to think the 25% threshold is far to low. When rights are enshrined in the constitution, they are there precisely because it is harder to amend or change than any other form of legal redress. This difficulty is by design, precisely to protect the minority from the majority, including their “incredibly strong advocate[s]”. These rights are protected precisely because they are not open to a simple popularity contest. Popular opinion once held that people could be property, remember, and the fact that it was popular didn’t make it right,… so yes… “MA is right about this issue” whatever the national popular opinion. MA, alone among the states, was right about Nixon too in 1972.

    The SJC ruled that gay marriage was protected as a matter of the constitution. The constitution is hard to change. The attempt to change it failed. The system, however flawed it is, worked in this case.

    As for “threats”, “intimidation”, and “job promises”, “coercion”, and “bribery”, I think you had better come up with some examples before you start slinging mud. When you don’t, your open your points to discredit. If you find real credence to any of those allegations, believe that those on this blog would take any of it seriously.

    “Anyone who disagrees with you is considered prejudiced.” I find it funny that you would bring this up since nobody on this post has even used that word… never mind declaring it applicable of “all who disagree”. Maybe you feel you are being attacked for prejudice in your own private life.

    Either way, the Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines “prejudice” as:

    1 : injury or damage resulting from some judgment or action of another in disregard of one’s rights; especially : detriment to one’s legal rights or claims
    2 a (1) : preconceived judgment or opinion (2) : an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge b : an instance of such judgment or opinion c : an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics

    “Disregard for one’s rights” is exactly what was a play here. The term is therefore apt. As for “…applaud[ing] the ‘yes’ voters who stood up for their convictions”, know that one can have prejudiced convictions that those that do deserve no praise for such. World history is piled with the bodies of those murdered by people of “conviction” so that, in and of itself, is not worthy of praise.

    It should also be noted that there is one perfectly legitimate form of “intimidation” and “coercion”… the threat of constituent voters of support withdrawal. To borrow a phrase of yours… “That is democracy.” Gotta love it.

  9. jilll Says:

    I think the while argument is pretty ridiculous and we’re looking at the issue the wrong way. This has nothing to do with liberal or conservative, it has to do with the way we’re viewing the issue.

    The Garling Gauge has a really good take on it that might change your mind:

    http://garlinggauge.com/2007/08/17/solution-to-gay-marriage-is-semantics/

  10. Lynne Says:

    I recommend not using old threads to post on…I’m likely the only one to see it. Anyway, there’s a legal reason to use the word “marriage” - if you try to create a new status and try to recreate all the rights therein, it’s nearly impossible to find them all in order to create the “new” status. Marriage is NOT only done in a church - it’s the word used to describe the civil institution as well…and as such, is intertwined in law all over the place. I’m married, but I never set foot in a church to do it.

    And we already know that separate but equal is not equal. What we have to do is take the stranglehold of religion off of civic life, and personally, I think people are waking up and realizing that the religious right not only doesn’t represent their views, but it has too large a voice in governing compared to the numbers who espouse it. Not surprisingly, outside certain states, you see a certain revulsion for that faith-and-law intersection.

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