- Good News: New Senate President Therese Murray is solidly for marriage equality and other civil rights.
- Bad News: Only 50 of 200 legislators in Constitutional Convention are necessary to send the bill to take away marriage rights from homosexuals.
- Good News: Over 60% of the voters favor leaving same-sex marriages alone, and that percentage is growing.
- Bad News: Neither Gov. Deval Patrick nor leaders in either house have dared tackle the poisonous, badly abused ballot-initiative process.
- Good News: Murray could use parliamentary procedures to squash the anti-marriage-equality amendment, as previous Senate President Bobby Travaglini did to advance the amendment and to kill the health-care one.
- Bad News: We may be a single ConCon vote away from a year and one-half of vitriolic, anti-gay campaigning.
- Good News: Pro-marriage-equality Sen. Brian Joyce believes that with the governor, senate president and speaker of the house against the amendment, "I’m hard-pressed to see a scenario whereby this matter advances.”"
- Bad News: Despite their promises to back off when they lose, no matter how they have lost in the past the anti-marriage-equality/anti-gay forces try every method and trick in the book to keep attacking.
So, Murray needs to have a chat with herself first apparently, even before she talks up marriage equality with the General Court members. She seems to have said in her first press conference that she doesn't know whether she'll require an up-or-down vote on the amendment. She claimed that she couldn't say yet whether she'd use Travaglini-style procedural moves. As she put it, "I haven't even discussed that with myself."
I'm in the camp with Bay Windows editor Susan Ryan-Vollmar in writing that it would extremely tough to end up with 151 votes out of 200 to kill the amendment.
That would be a swing of eight legislators who have repeatedly shown that they don't mind stripping a minority of existing rights. It may be irrelevant whether they think voting against SSM will help them stay in office or whether they simply think some kinds of discrimination are okay.
The let-the-people-vote faction of right-wingers and libertarians continues its chant. In the end, that shows two problems. First, the ballot-initiative process was never intended and should not be used to overturn court decisions or to strip existing rights from any minority. The governor and leaders of both houses must make it a priority to return this process to its intent -- altering bad law passed by a confused legislature.
Second, the lefties, including me, have tried so very hard to make nice with the VoteOnMarriage (yours, not ours, they're quick to make clear) folk. They have not and will not return the favor. They want nothing short of their mean-spirited, destructive goals.
No matter when and how they lose, yet again, they are going to scream, pout, stomp, sue, slander, and threaten. Murray needs to be aware that whether she convinces eight legislators to vote for marriage equality or brushes the amendment aside as Travaglini did with the health-care one in January, there will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.
When and how that happens, she should be on the side of civil rights and fairness. Nothing else makes any intellectual or moral sense.
Tags: massmarrier, Massachusetts, amendment, same sex marriage, ConCon, Travaglini, Therese Murray