Sunday, July 09, 2006

Second SSM Opinion Nails It

As befuddled as yesterday's Boston Globe editorial was on the pending ConCon, today's Eileen McNamara version was much savvier and showed a much clearer sense of the issues. She also saved us work in pointing to opinion on the amendment.

In case you haven't followed or analyzed the key issues, head to her piece for some clarity. She notes:
  • We have representative democracy, not plebiscites, in no small part to avoid majorities tyrannizing minorities.
  • The let-the-people-vote gimmick our commonwealth constitution, which to quote SJC chief Justice Margaret Marshall is "more protective of individual liberty and equality than the federal Constitution."
  • The VoteonMarriage people and local R.C. Bishops are muddling civil contract law and their personal religion. "The question before the court in 2003, like the question before the Legislature meeting in Constitutional Convention on Wednesday, is about the civil, not the religious, definition of marriage. The issue is not who shall be blessed, but who shall be licensed."
We can join her in accepting that a subset of our citizens neither likes nor condones same-sex marriage. The glib response can be that if you don't like homosexual marriage, don't marry a homosexual. The underlying truth is accurate though. As years of this blog have covered, our commonwealth's marriage laws from colonial days to now and beyond are of civil contract. People are welcome to add a religious veneer and consider that the real marriage, but the state does not and never has.

Here, we think this long and divisive effort to strip rights from one group and to illegally try to overturn a court decision show what we have to do. The abuse of ballot initiatives illustrates clearly how perverted they have been by anti-democratic, anti-gay, anti-civil-rights groups. The legislature needs leadership, either internally or from a new governor and attorney general. They need to fine-tune the process and return it to the legal safeguard it was when first added to our rights here.

Let us be plain. We should never permit the majority to vote on civil rights for a minority.

To Wednesday, the Globe editorial board seems pretty Pollyannaish about it all. Gee whiz, you kiddies in the General Court. By gum, your job is to vote this amendment down. That'll show 'em.

The amendment is more than cruel, it is unconstitutional. It should never have gotten this far, even with 125,000 or so coerced signature. We can lay this monster at the feet of Mitt Romney, Tom Reilly and Sean O'Malley; its there baby more than the Mass Family folk.

No matter how it loses -- the SJC ruling it illegal, the ConCon not voting on it, a down vote at the ConCon, or otherwise, it needs to go down. Then beyond it, the momentum needs to go into the legislative process. Let's make sure that those who would trample on any minority get a loud, "NO!"

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Bob Neer said...

"We should never permit the majority to vote on civil rights for a minority." What about the adoption of the Massachusetts and federal constitutions. Those were voted on, and approved, by the majority, acting through their representatives. What alternative are you proposing?

massmarrier said...

Putting entire structures in place as the basis for a government is in now way comparable to picking a subset of the citizens and saying, "I get this, but you get this."

Specious comparisons would more likely be differentiations between minors and adults. These too are not really comparable. The state has compellilng reasons for these. In contrast muddling sacraments and civil licenses is not a compelling reaaon.