Despite Reilly's comments today, the constitutionality of the initiative for the 2008 election is questionable. Gay-rights groups could challenge it even before it gets to its first legislative vote next year.
The first take by the Globe and the Herald don't draw any conclusions or offer analysis. The Globe piece has the necessary background in one place.
It addition, it specifies the arguments about the constitutionality of the 2008 (no-gay-marriage/no-civil-union) version:
At issue is a clause in the Massachusetts Constitution's Article 48, which "permits the people to petition for a constitutional amendment that overrules a court decision when the court has declared a statute to be in violation of our constitution."
Backers of the initiative say that makes it clear voters have the authority to overrule a court decision, while gay marriage advocates point out that the court case that led to gay marriage rights did not overturn an existing law.
In a letter to gay marriage advocates, Peter Sacks, Reilly's deputy chief, explained that the petition was allowed to proceed because the writers of the section of the constitution governing ballot initiatives "clearly meant to allow initiative petitions to amend the words of the constitution in response to a court decision finding a law unconstitutional."
The proposed marriage amendment does not involve the "reversal of a judicial decision," Sacks wrote.
That view is at odds with numerous legal experts, including the past two Massachusetts attorneys general.
While fundies and other anti-gay-rights folk seem to be picking the horse they think has the best chance of winning, Reilly really seems addled. He may have screwed up the last chance of the 2006 (no-new-gay-marriages-but-civil-unions) initiative. If the 2008 gets tossed on legal challenges, he will be guilty of both bad politics and poor job performance...all when he wants to run for governor.