We have anticipated this from the beginning and have never taken our eye off it. You can search this blog for detail and opinion. The current state, however, is that this odious effort to strip existing civil rights from our gay citizens comes for discussion two days after the November general election.
The new governor is likely to be a key player here even before he takes office. "The bully pulpit role is very significant, but just as important is the role they play in helping us garner votes within the Legislature on this issue and others," as the Globe quotes Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus Co-Chair Arline Isaacson.
The article comes with a mealy-mouth chart of issues, but its body on the amendment drive is solid. It notes that the new governor will have a key leadership role in:
- Defining the issue and how the General Court should vote on whether to let the amendment proceed.
- Whether to seek to recall the pair of 1913 laws passed to prevent interracial marriage for out-of-state couples where that would be illegal at home. Of course, Governor Romney and Attorney General Reilly hauled these out to stymie and slow down homosexual couples marrying here.
It is possible that fewer than the required 50 would support the amendment in November. Everyone except the anti-gay forces, including the Massachusetts Family Institute and the local Roman Catholic hierarchy, would be happy for that.
Of course, if this dreadful carcass of an amendment hangs around for another year, much more time, money, effort and emotion better devoted to real issues will be wasted. It would fall to the new governor to show some guts and straighten out those who claim this is about democracy and is not a civil-rights issue. Patrick would surely do that. Gabrieli might, or he might at least bore people into submission eventually.
The two biggies that the Globe did not cover and may not understand are that the governor must:
- Set the ballot-initiative process back on track
- Rouse a leaderless General Court to action
A clearheaded, courageous governor can stop that by mandating a return to the original purpose. Our next governor must lead a fine-tuning of our process. Other states foundering in seas of hateful laws and crippling limits on social progress can follow our example -- as they did when we started this with the best of intentions.
Harder will be putting live coals in the back pockets of House Speaker Sal Dimasi and Senate President Robert (Don't Call Me Bobby) Travaglini. their inaction and inertia have let us slip economically, socially and politically. In the same-sex-marriage area alone, they had over two years to clarify the law before the Supreme Judicial Court ruled the boys snoozed. Likewise, after the SJC decision, the guys had orders to enable SSM or its equivalent and they did not. Neither the amendment nor its related hoo-hah would have happened if the pair's hats were as full as their chairs.
There has been no leadership from the governor's office nor from the titular legislative heads for nearly 16 years. It will be far easier to bring in one strong governor than to provide the backbone lacking in the legislators.
Tags: massmarrier, Massachusetts, amendment, same sex marriage, ConCon