Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Marriage Amendment: Different Tack

The ever dispassionate and insightful NYU Law School Professor Arthur S. Leonard has a farther ranging view than most of us on the anti-marriage-equality amendment stumbling ahead here. On his Leonard Link blog, he suggests that pro-SSM forces here concentrate on maintaining and increasing the percentage of voters who favor keeping SSM.

He writes in part:
The soonest that it could go to the ballot would be 2008. By then, same-sex couples would have been marrying in Massachusetts for four years. Public opinion polls in the state show a slow but steady increase in the portion of the public who express approval of same-sex marriage, indeed a small majority say so at this point. Perhaps in another two years the majority will have grown. In any event, it seems possible that in a fair campaign, with the governor and a majority of state legislators (and probably a majority of the local press) supporting same-sex marriage, the amendment will be defeated by the voters. Nothing is certain, but this past November Arizona finally ended the unbroken chain of public support for constitutional bans on same-sex marriage, showing that it is possible with an effective campaign to defeat such a measure. (Of course, the Arizona measure was significantly different, in that its broader wording made it possible to fire up straight seniors in opposition to a measure that might deprive them of some of the benefits they derive by living together without marrying...)

At this point, of course, the LGBT political movement in Massachusetts will focus on lobbying to get the amendment defeated at the next Constitutional Convention, but it strikes this observer that the major work should be focused on persuading the public that adding the amendment to the Constitution would be a bad idea, since it seems likely that the public will be called upon to vote, during the next presidential election year.

In contrast, I don't see how progressives and pro-marriage-equality forces could do anything other than working as hard as possible to increase the ConCon support to at least 151 legislators. Snip this weed this year!

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Mike said...

Is Trav retiring soon? I read somewhere that he was...if so, maybe the new Senate president will kill this...perhaps the same way the health amendment was killed, just send it to die in a committee.

massmarrier said...

There was talk in April that he wanted too. He had heart surgery, thyroid cancer and kids heading to college. I don't think we can count on him slinking away yet.

Mark D. Snyder said...

I believe it would have done / will do our community good to go door to door, which massequality does now, but not just about marriage but about lgbt people, our lives, etc. in general. Building a network of allies is important not just for marriage but for making our schools and streets safer, etc. etc.

massmarrier said...

Well, Mark, that made the world of difference in Maine on their finally holding onto a gay-rights bill. Homosexuals coming out, as individuals and partners, had voters saying this or that neighbor, co-worker or fellow parishioner was just fine.

Here too, we have years of SSM, putting the lie to that claim that it harms different sex marriage in any way.

We do see familiarity breeding acceptance.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mark D Snyder 100%. And really, that is completely in line with the NY legal head your weer quoting MassMarrier. Meeting people first-hand is the best way, in the long term to cange attitudes towards LGBT people, no matter the political issue of the day (safe schools, marriage, immigration). I have joined a speakers bureau. I hope others will do the same, and also hope that orgs like MassEq will ramp up their commitment to this type of effort.

Uncle said...

I promised:

Anonymous said...

Education is a wonderful lifelong process, but this professor needs to examine our record of adopting/rejecting ballot iniatives over the past 30 years in detail first.

He'll find time and time again voters adopting every bit of reactionary craziness from the pit of hell and rejecting any reasonable proposition to greatly benefit our society, swayed to vote against their own interests, truth, and decency by 30 second commercials. Hint: The anti-equality people will have all the money in the world to produce slick ads.

You can't take the risk on something this imprtant with history against you.