Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Out West, Ennui

Looks like the Golden State should rent Sean O'Malley. The Boston Archbishop will forever be known as the crucial factor in getting enough signatures on the anti-same-sex marriage petition in Massachusetts.

Maybe his father confessor will forgive him.

Meanwhile, on the We(s)t Coast, those who confuse religious rites with civil rights are not doing so well. The LA Times wraps up the anti-gay year and notes that two of the Fright and Spite groups just announced that they failed to get enough voter interest to put anti-SSM initiatives on the 2006 ballot.

This may be a harbinger for Massachusetts as well. While our own anti forces got their signatures (again with the RC Church's complicity), voters here too want to get on with their lives.

The ballot initiative thingummy is way overdone and all but the dullest of citizens are seeing this abuse of democracy for what it is. Let us hope and work toward this leading to a reform of ballot initiatives to return them to their role as checks against horrid legislation.

In the Golden State, Tuesday's deadline came without forgiveness to ProtectMarriage.com. It gathered less than half the 598,000 signatures to advance a ban on SSMs. VoteYesMarriage.com has admitted it cannot raise enough money to bring in hired-gun signature gatherers (apparently a must for petitions that aim to strip citizens of rights).

The state Supreme Court has a pending case on whether existing limits to one-man/one-woman are constitutional, but they won't settle that until 2007. So, many on various sides are waiting and watching. Of course, the legislature voted to legalize SSM this session, only to see Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger veto it. Thus, the legislative leg of the stool is missing. The elected lawmakers are willing to join Massachusetts in equal marriage.

Representative democracy can be such a shock and disappointment to the control freaks.

As such special interests are prone to do, the to major anti folk are spitting at each other. They compete for funds, volunteers and supporters. For example, VoteYesMarriage.com's Randy Thompsson called ProtectMarriage.com's "competing measure weak and invit(ed) voters to abandon it in favor of his. 'People want true blue marriage protection. They don't want petitions they've signed to just sit in an office instead of being turned in,' he said."

In general, voters on both coasts seem tired of the vitriol and trash talk. Here, they tell pollsters SSM is the law of the land. They'd like lawmakers to do something meaningful instead of revisiting this issue.

The anti forces in California may have similarly undermined themselves. Coming up on six years ago, voters passed Proposition 22, which inserted one-man/one-woman wording into the family code. That's a pretty thin strand to hang an anti-SSM campaign on, particularly after seeing how well SSM works here and civil unions in Vermont. Making voters look at this again seems to have finally backfired.

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