Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Shoot-Out at the CT Corral

On Valentine's Day A.D. 2007, the co-chairs of the Connecticut legislature's judiciary committee will go Rell hunting. After hearing Gov. Jodi Rell's veto threat, they still intend to introduce a same-sex marriage bill.

In fairness, the coincidental holiday adds a nice kissy-face aspect to the bill's subject. However, that's the pre-set deadline for new legislation this year.

Sen. Andrew McDonald and Rep. Michael Lawlor, both Democrats, chose not to be cowed by the Republican governor. According to a report in the Hartford Courant, Lawlor this conflict was "inevitable." At the same time, he noted, "This is obviously not the most important issue [facing] the legislature."

The Boston Globe also carries a short version of the action in Hartford. It notes that at the press conference announcing their intentions, Lawlor suggested that Rell might rethink the veto.

On the anti-SSM side, there was bluster and a political gambit. The Family Institute of Connecticut made the predictable, sky-will-fall noises. That include the perennial crowd-pleasing, "We need the people's voice to be heard," from their executive director, Brian Brown.

However, according to the Courant, Brown made a one-two slap. First, he said he wanted a one-man/one-woman marriage amendment to the state constitution. In the wake of the General Assembly voluntarily legalizing same-sex civil unions, that proposal seems to put the nut in nutmeg state. Even Brown said the chances of that happening were low.

Then out of far left field, he urged the legislators to consider a non-binding referendum on the issue. Within an hour, the committee tossed the request, "saying there is no mechanism for such an advisory vote." McDonald added that the legislators had kicked the whole topic around for years and knew what their voters thought. For example, he's a strong SSM advocate, who won reelection last fall with 62%.

The Courant piece concluded with the ill-matched bookends of opinion on SSM there:
Senate GOP leader Louis DeLuca of Woodbury rejected the claim that marriage is a civil right. "Isn't that what civil unions were supposed to address?'' he asked during the Family Institute press conference. "Now they want that name as well. As someone whose been married 53 years, I resent it.'' But Becca Lazarus, a 12-year-old who lives in Windsor with her two dads, doesn't see it that way. She said her friends don't understand why her parents can't marry. "They don't understand what a civil union is,'' Lazarus said during the Love Makes a Family press conference. "but everyone knows what marriage is.''

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