Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Reilly/Patrick SSM Distinctions

In 13 days, we pick the Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate. On same-sex marriage, all three candidates say they support it, but a couple of pieces in today's Herald highlight the Tom Reilly/Deval Patrick difference.

If you see this as a civil-rights issue, you should consider what this would mean if either of them was in office. If the current anti-SSM amendment loses in the November ConCon, the next governor gets a pass. If not, he or she will face the passions, lobbying, and general time sink of the process.

We've covered this repeatedly, such as here. It's fair to note that the positions have not changed as the candidates told the Herald's editorial board. Basically, Reilly says he's only played by the rules all along and Patrick says such rights should never be up for plebiscite.

Waffle Watch: Reilly used to oppose SSM, but has been on board since shortly after the Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of it (law of the land, don't ya know). That has not changed. Chris Gabrieli has been a SSM supporter and claims to have lobbied vigorously for it as law. However, his campaign is one of moderation and compromise. He's willing to let the amendment process follow its course.

As the Herald's Kimberly Atkins analyzed the meeting:
Gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick blasted rival Attorney General Tom Reilly’s decision to certify a ballot question seeking to ban gay couples from marrying, a move Reilly defended while stating his support for same-sex marriage.

Reilly said he followed state constitutional law in allowing a ballot initiative defining marriage as between one man and one woman to go on the ballot in 2008, and subsequently defending the move before the state’s highest court. But Patrick said the issue should not be subject to a vote.
Patrick disagrees strongly on two points:
  1. Reilly "didn’t have a constitution obligation to certify the question (and) I wish he hadn’t because all it has done is prolong a debate that most of us have had enough of. "
  2. On apporoving the ballot initiative, "On a questions of civil rights, no. Because frankly if voters had weighed in on the Loving decision, people would have said: ‘this is the way we want it.’”
As well as endorsing Patrick, we strongly disagree with Reilly on the ballot iniatiative. Not only should such rights not come to a vote, this amendment did not meet the constitutional requirements because it is trying to reverse a judicial decision. We hold that Reilly should have led in clarifying the laws on SSM, on out-of-state couples marrying here, and on appropriate ballot initiatives. Those would have shown him to be the type of leader as attorney general that he pretends.

More on the Meeting: Check the BlueMassGroup for a discussion of the larger issues of the Herald's session.

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Anonymous said...

Hi Massmarrier,

You said "If the current anti-SSM amendment loses in the November ConCon, the next governor gets a pass.".
I don't quite agree. There will still be items of SSM interest that need a strong governor to make them happen.
1. repealing the stinkin 1913 laws
2. passing a law that explicitly legalizes SSM
3. making sure that businesses don't jetison domestic partner benefits, saying 'well now you can jsut get married.' if your partner isn't a u.s. citizen, a MA marriage isn't always an option. in fact, the u.s. gov't takes SSM as 'proof' that the foreign partner intends to dishonor the terms of their visa and never leave our hallowed shores.
4. if a federal anti-gay marriage amendment ever gets passed by congress, we need in-state leadership to insure that our legislature doesn't ratify it.

So, no matter what happens the the 11/9 concon, we need a strong, pro-gay governor on beacon hill.

massmarrier said...

Fair enough. My comments were reduced to the narrow issue of how to defeat the initiative.

Yours is a good list. I would add what I consider the key -- and the hardest to pass -- an overhaul of the abused ballot initiative system. We need to prevent any set of bad guys from jerking us around like this again.

The simple wording in the constitution needs clarification, big time.