The Joint Sessions can shorten this waste of money and human effort in the push to put a ballot initiative forbidding same-sex marriage here. Yet, because the law only requires a 25% approval from the General Court, repeated in the 186th session, there is an even chance that this spiteful and ill-conceived amendment will progress.
Expect repetition of several lame arguments as this progresses. Keep in mind that shouting an argument or making the same one again and again does not make one right. It does make you loud, repetitive, and often irrational.
Lame Lie, the FirstThe anti-gay and anti-SSM folk here love to say, “Queer ‘marriage’ is not legal. There is no law at allows it.”
Without meeting each person making such a foolish argument, we can’t know whether they are dishonest, dull-witted, or just repeating what they heard. Perhaps they didn’t do too well in civics and history classes.
A crucial and clear distinction among totalitarian regimes and democracies is that in the former what is not specifically permitted is forbidden. In democracies, that is reversed.
The General Laws of Massachusetts carefully regulate marriage. Unfortunately for the anti folk, it did not originally consider SSM. On the other hand, Chapter 207 starts with 14 very specific Sections forbidding this or that type of marriage – bigamy, incest, underage and on and on.
It goes into the heart of marriage regulation here. The question remains, who is legally entitled to a license to marry? The bulk of the who-can laws related to the license and solemnization. Again, the General Laws are very specific about that. This reinforces the clear distinction carried over from English common law to the Bay Colony to our commonwealth’s constitution, that marriage here is a civil contract.
Of course, a substantial minority of couples marrying here do so in a church or otherwise with a cleric performing the solemnization. The religious veneer is nice but not required.
The commonwealth regulates who can enter into a marriage and who can annul or divorce. Sorry, God Guys, that’s the law here.
So back to the question about where’s the law? It has two parts. First the constitution here and its amendments specifically forbid unequal treatment by gender. The cutesy claim that a lesbian can marry, so long as the spouse is a man, is specious and in violation of law here. Second, in absence of a restriction, homosexuals can marry as freely as heterosexuals. They too can enter into this civil contract, with or without the religious trappings.
In addition, the Goodridge decision ordered the legislature to legalize SSM specifically. Massachusetts already had the building blocks for this decision – a long history of marriage as a civil contract, no laws forbidding SSM, and laws or amendments requiring equal treatment of citizens and no creation of separate classes of rights.
Make Me Safe The fact now is that the anti folk want to introduce new restrictions and limit the civil contractual rights of a class of citizens.
Perhaps not so oddly, many of them seem to also excuse the White House’s domestic spying of late. While these at first glance seem quite different, they share a scary thread. These folk are perfectly willing to limit Americans freedom, including their own, in exchange for simple-minded certainty. They need the comfort of the known and will give up much and force others to give up more to get it.
It’s a scary world.