Monday, October 24, 2005

Chicken Little Fatigue

Could it be that voters and legislators alike are tired of anti-same-sex-marriage bluster? Or as State Rep. Richard Ross (Republican) said, "The bullet's out of the barrel now. There's no stuffing it back in."

The Stoughton Journal offered a microcosm that may well extrapolate to other areas of the state. They checked in with the area legislators on how they stand on the new ballot initiative to put an amendment on the 2008 ballot to rescind SSM.

Not surprisingly, they found that the lawmakers reflect the feeling of their voters. Nearly all the senators and representatives want to vote no if the initiative comes to them for approval in each of the next two sessions of General Court.

As a refresher, the circulating petition must get enough signatures, and receive 50 or more votes out of 200 total legislators twice in the identical form to get on the ballot. While that seems a very low bar, perhaps they will not get even that.

Sen. James Timilty (D-Sharon) was one who found human interaction outweighed the hysterics screaming about the pending horrors of SSM. He visited a gay family and "saw a clear lack of evidence that there was any harm to the commonwealth. Instead, I saw the benefits of children growing up in a two-parent household."

Democratic Rep. Bill Galvin (Canton) commented, "I feel (the judges) made a ruling that said under our Constitution everybody is created equal and we should all share the same freedoms, and I agree with that. The Constitution is document that has been in effect for a long time and I take it very seriously before making a change. To change the Constitution to take away someone's rights, I don't agree with that."

Several other lawmakers noted the distinction between civil marriage and a church blessing. Sen. Marion Walsh, for one, said that was the deciding factor in her decision to oppose the amendment.

One who is in that distinct minority favoring a let-the-people-decide stance is House Majority Leader John Rogers, a Democrat. It is ironic that his position here or California only seems to come into play when some voters want to lower their taxes or take away rights from a minority. We must watch Rogers to see whether he holds that position as lobbying and chamber debate press on him.

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