In a fit of common sense, a former leading opponent of same-sex marriage says it is time for the state to move on. Representative Eugene O'Flaherty told Bay Windows that he is up for the real business of the legislature instead.
This is particularly significant also because he chairs the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. He said that in the likely event that legislation to outlaw same-sex marriage comes before his committee, he will recommend not passing it.
O'Flaherty speaks of his evolution and being influenced by constituents. Most obviously, "I want to try to dispose of this issue. It has occupied the last three years of my life: a lot of time, a lot of energy, and I'd like to apply that to healthcare. I"d like to apply that to some of the other issues that we have in front of us, that as far as I'm concerned, are much more important to our constituents at this point."
He also spoke of his constituents' influence. One was Ken Stone, a gay Charlestown activist. O'Flaherty attended his SSM last year.
Very pro-SSM Senator Jarrett Barrios notes that "Representative O'Flaherty has stature among precisely those legislators who are on the fence and can persuade them, I believe quite effectively, to oppose this ballot initiative."
We had given up on keeping the initiative off the ballot. The bar – less than 66,000 signatures and a quarter of the legislature in two votes – is so low. Yet, such events as O'Flaherty's awakening are heartening.
Does this belong in the ex-anti-gay record book?