Thursday, November 09, 2006

SSM Foes Looking Weak in Boston

The motion to shift item 20 to the top of the agenda failed in Boston today. That means the jaw fest continues while the crowds on the sidewalk chant.

That item is the initiative amendment to halt future same-sex marriages in Massachusetts. The reconvened Constitutional Convention (ConCon) officially started around 1 p.m. The joint legislative session may or may not wade down to this one today, or ever.

If they adjourn without voting on it, there will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. Our governor has the power to call the houses back into session, but not the power to force them to vote on an amendment proposal.

The Dark Side wanting to strip marriage rights from homosexual couples has already lost this one, but can't let it go. The options include:
  1. The ConCon adjourns. Even if Gov. Willard M. Romney calls them back they may keep adjourning. It takes 101 of the 200 legislators to adjourn and 151 to defeat an initiative amendment.
  2. The ConCon approves the amendment this time, carrying it over until next year's ConCon. Then in the very unlikely case it passes with the new legislature without the old anti-gay guys in house, it would go to a statewide vote in the 2008 general election, where polls strongly suggest, it would get trounce.
  3. The ConCon votes the amendment down by giving it fewer than 50 votes.
If 1, the anti-SSM folk will pressure Romney, who wants this whole thing to go away and stop associating him with the subject. Then if he doesn't bite on reconvening, the Mass Family Institute's forces would surely head to the courts to try to force the issue.

If 2, we have one or two more years of distraction from the real business of healing and improving the commonwealth.

If 3, the MFI folk and their minions will jump up and down and scream. They won't accept the loss and will regroup to find out how else they might be able to hinder and harm gay folk.

Back on Beacon Street, the good guys -- pro-marriage equality -- have more passion, better chants, and crappier signs. Across the street, the anti-SSM people are far fewer (maybe a third the group). Yet, they were bused in and given professional printed signs. Nearly everyone has the same white on green. Some hold them high. Others seem to need the sign's stick to remain standing.

They did bring their JESUS IS THE LORD balloon again. It's a nice orange and looks like a printed marshmallow. We rather doubt that loving, forgiving Jesus would have much good to say about being linked to highly selective Old Testament verses as the basis for hatred and discrimination. Perhaps they'll next turn to such winners as Deuteronomy 22:13-21 about stoning the non-virgin bride and leaving her dead on the father's doorstep. That Old Testament God was such a martinet.

We naively believed we might get in the gallery for the ConCon. We got there well before lunchtime, but far too late for that. The Mass Equality people said they were lined up by 6 a.m. The better news is that they estimated that they had 70% of the seats inside.

We held a placard -- PROTECT ALL FAMILIES -- and chanted. After a bit, we headed to CVS for some cashews to sustain the body. A lawyerly looking middle aged fellow stopped us in the aisle and looked at the pro-equality sign on my shirt. He asked how things were progressing. He had taken a break because he got into a shouting match and near to blows with one of the anti folk.

He noted that he had been married to his husband for two years and was headed back up the Hill.

So, we're all waiting.

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