Stunning the assembled crowds and onlookers, State Senator Jarrett Barrios proposed a bill that would ban both same-sex marriages and civil unions in Massachusetts. He is a long-term and prominent same-sex-marriage and gay-right supporter.
The anti forces are wondering what he's up to, as are the pro types. The president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, Kristian Mineau, is concerned that conservatives might be confused by this choice. There is presently a tenuous compromise heading to the vote for the 2006 Constitutional Convention. The hateful, the knee-jerk religious, and the addled joined last year to pass a civil union bill. The conservatives in the coalition have said that they'd do anything to reverse same-sex marriage, even support civil unions.
The same bill must pass a combined legislative session this term to get to the convention and thus have a shot at being on the ballot in 2006. Last year, it barely passed. Since then, several liberal legislators unlikely to vote for the bill have taken office. For now, it looks like a civil union bill would fail this time.
For the new ban-everything-queer-marriage bill, Barrios used only lawspeak. "My sponsoring this bill is to allow the elected legislators of the Commonwealth to once again review and I hope reject this effort to write discrimination into the Constitution," he said, refusing to elaborate. Perhaps it is simply brinkmanship.