Thursday, March 22, 2007

Murray Pulls Punches

In a surprisingly sudden follow-up to an earlier post here, new Senate President Therese Murray seems to have given herself the word. She told the AP that she'll go for a vote in the Constitutional Convention. Meanwhile, she 'll work to defeat it with legislative votes.

Good luck, prez, and I mean that, but I retain my skepticism.

Not surprisingly, the anti-marriage equality forces want an early vote. That would give them the best chance to retain their edge and prevent reason and fairness from clouding the emotions of their nearly 60 supporters among the 200-member legislature.

Phrasing it cynically, VoteOnMarriage's Lisa Barstow said, "We think she should go ahead and call for the vote without delay. People don't have an appetite for any more tin-ear politics on Beacon Hill." I read that as, "For our benefit, arrange the vote before our guys notice how weak their position is with voters and the General Court!"

The earliest possible meeting of a ConCon would be May 9th. Recent sessions have met and adjourned for weeks or months, sometimes until December or even just after New Years. There's lots of other legislative business and many lobbyists with possible action on the typically deep ConCon agenda like to have their say, as do lawmakers.

Despite the rush advancement that previous Senate President Bobby Travaglini ended up giving the amendment last time, it sure makes sense for those who want to take away the right for homosexuals to marry to push for quick action.

On the pro-marriage-equality side, MassEquality will join Murray in working the lawmakers to get the 151 of 200 votes to send the amendment to the ignominy it deserves. As Campaign Director Marc Solomon said, "Sen. Murray has been a longtime supporter of marriage equality. We're looking forward to closely working with her and her leadership team to defeat this discriminatory amendment."

There must have been a deep sigh behind that. Murray's pledge puts his effort at a tremendous disadvantage. The anti folk have used every possible weapon and urged legislators to help them. Here, Murray takes some options off the table before even starting.

It's a scary world.

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Anonymous said...

My head hurts.

Lynne said...

Question: is abstaining an option?

My Sen, Panagiotakos, is dead-set against real gay marriage. (He voted for the compromise amendment, but against gays at the ConCon.) However, perhaps the tact with him is to not go on the record at all.

I know he's fairly liberal minded except for his religion. I don't think he's a homophobe (though, I started to wonder what with his insistance to be anti-gay-marriage). So maybe he can live with an abstanation on his conscience, if he can't give a no vote to this stupid amendment.

Mass Marrier said...

Thanks for bringing that up, Lynne. A half-dozen abstentions would work just fine. Come to think of it, if lawmakers notice that the majority of their constituents want this issue to die and aren't interested in stripping rights from anyone, not voting would serve them well.

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