Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Here a Vote, There a Vote

It seems most key U.S. Supreme Court decisions are 5-4. The past presidential popular vote was very close. So, perhaps it won’t surprise anyone that the vote to put the same-sex marriage amendment on the ballot in Massachusetts is unsettled.

In today’s Boston Globe, an analysis comes slightly short of saying the votes are no longer there to provide the necessary 101 out of 200 legislators to put the question to a 2005 constitutional convention and subsequently to voters in 2006. It is a typical Globe hedging assessment. May, might and could figure prominently.

Same-sex marriage opponents in and out of state had hoped for a red-state style backlash. What they got on the first vote last March was 105 for the amendment and 92 against. Since then:
  • Two anti-gay marriage representatives lost to pro candidates.
  • Three antis have resigned from the House
  • Two new senators are likely to favor the amendment
  • Three new representatives and one new senator are likely to oppose the amendment.

Until the incumbents and new lawmakers re-declare or declare, a vote outcome is unsure. The Globe figures it is a narrow defeat for the amendment.

If that happens, Massachusetts will continue to permit same-sex marriages. Opponents have an increasingly harder sell in light of the recent experience. As House Speaker Sal DiMasi said, “Gay marriage has been in effect for a long time, and the world hasn’t collapsed.”

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