In the next 10 days, Massachusetts gets to fill in report cards on its legislators and attorney general on related but separate issues. We get to measure courage, character, respect for democracy, and leadership. No one can know for sure until the deeds are done.
First, by the end of Wednesday, September 7th, Attorney General Tom Reilly has to show some `nads or not on the 2008 ballot question that would strip marital rights from married gay couples and outlaw same-sex marriage. Past attorneys general and a powerful phalanx of lawyers point out that it is simply unconstitutional. Our not-really-running-for-President-yet Mitt Romney is using that cynical the-voters-should-decide ploy and letting the law dangle on the cliff edge.
Also today's Boston Globe has details of the anti-gay passion and the resulting political work by the question proponents. One would think that Reilly, who lusts for the governor's office, would show some guts and quash this clear violation of the letter and spirit of the ballot initiative rules and laws. We have a sneaky governor and certainly don't need to replace him with a timid one.
Then, a week later, the combined legislature meets in Constitutional Convention to vote on the 2006 ballot question. It needs to pass the vote again to get on the ballot. Note: Bay Windows has a solid analysis of the shifting votes on this (see the Head Count section).
Those of us with any idealism left could certainly hope that both questions get overwhelming rejections. The idea of allowing any group to attempt to strip existing rights from another group is offensive and most unAmerican.