An elegantly cynical gesture by anti-gay and anti-same-sex-marriage folk threw a little more dirt into today's Constitutional Conference. The most virulent critic, State Rep. Philip Travis (D-Rehoboth), said he would file a bill to give reciprocal benefits to people who cannot marry under commonwealth law.
The best coverage of this is in today's Globe.
This alleged gift is so paternal that it is not to be believed, and certainly not trusted. In California, Arnold Schwarzenegger has the same paternalistic attitude. He plans to veto the same-sex marriage bill. His stated defense is along the lines of "We gave them domestic partnerships. Can't they take that, go away and leave us alone?"
This is a bit like the classic tale of the Russians in their troika, fleeing the pursuing wolves. To save themselves, they toss the servant, then one child after another to sate the terrible beasts.
Here, joining Travis in the ruse is the Massachusetts Family Institute. President Kris Mineau was even more a weasel than Travis. He pretended this was not just for homosexuals, although it is clearly designed as a sop to pretend the SSM foes are not just spiteful and anti-gay rights.
"Reciprocal benefits is not based on sexual orientation," Mineau equivocated. "(W)e want to make sure that the playing field is level to meet the needs of all citizens."
Of course, many of us find it fascinating that the extremist legislators and anti-gay groups suddenly have concerns for all citizens. It surely is coincidence that this is happening just before they lose one amendment chance and look headed to defeat on the next one.
Look for more such Arnie-style ploys by 2008's ballot initiative. It is frightening when hateful people claim they are only trying to do the right thing.