Friday, November 03, 2006

Mass Marriage - Travis/Trav Trap

With the good guys, led by Deval Patrick, apparently in charge for Nov. 7th, the real war comes two days later. The Nov. 9th reconvening of the Constitutional Convention brings the political circus to Beacon Hill, replete with all the noise and smells.

What's up with agenda 19 and 20?

Today, Senate President Robert (don't call me Bobby anymore) Travaglini promised, "We have the shared responsibility to debate and seek final resolution of all the items remaining on the calendar. Next Thursday, it is my hope that we will finish the remaining business of the convention."

Let's return to the thrilling days of yester-month, July 2006. The joint session of the General Court adjourned before considering the amendment to leave the 8,000-plus same-sex marriages in place, but forbid them going forward. (That circus act is of disappearing rights and [Poof!] changing a civil contract into a religious ritual .)

The forces that would strip civil rights from a group (homosexuals) moaned of conspiracies and radical gay agenda and blah blah. In fact, there were quite a few big items and the ConCon covered over half of them. We still have a bunch, and none more intriguing that the two kick-the-queers ones.

An honest legislature would have disposed of the rest of the agenda before the general election. Hey, though, these are professional politicians. What would you expect?

Oddly enough, they now have to see and maybe swallow one of their nastiest efforts. Among the remaining items is item 19. House bill 653 came from the spiteful minds of two of the most anti-gay legislators in this or any state, Emile Goguen and Phil Travis. It is a hateful little piece of work that would invalidate SSM and simultaneously prevent civil unions.

The delicious irony is that openly gay Senator Jerrett Barrios did what the anti-gay forces had been screaming for long time. They wanted a vote on this -- let democracy work, as they are wont to say when it can hurt those they fear. The bill was an obvious loser, reported unfavorably from the Judiciary Committee twice. It was dead, passed, defunct.

So, Barrios moved this to a legislature-sponsor amendment for consideration by the ConCon. As his timing would have it, this amendment is one calendar item ahead of the current ballot amendment item to cut off future SSMs. Because it is legislator initiated, not petition driven, it needs 50% ConCon approval to advance, while the ballot initiative only needs 25% (51 total from both houses).

Giggle Pause: Barrios is too elegant and too amusing by half. The two spiteful Reps, plus the Mass Family Institute, Article 8/MassResistance, MassNews and their ilk, had whined and threatened to have House 653 up for a vote. Well, there you have it, kiddies. Vote on that!

Come Nov. 9th, we might have:
  1. The ConCon gets bogged down in the health care and other action without getting to 19 or 20.
  2. In normal times with normal business, they might adjourn without consideration of either. That won't happen.
  3. Instead, they might come back for a second day to get to the goodies.
  4. If the ConCon votes on the sure loser, 19, fearful legislators might be able to tell their anti-gay constituents that they in fact voted for traditional marriage, but there weren't 101 votes total.
  5. They could adjourn, saying they had considered SSM.
  6. Instead, when they tromp on Goguen's geegaw, they could then move onto 20.
  7. Perhaps a Deval Patrick victory, coupled with the retirement of Goguen and Travis and the ouster of several anti-SSM legislators in the primary and general election will provide the gonad implants many legislators need. They might defeat 20 outright.
  8. The worse case would surely be 51 votes for item 20. That would mean another year of railing against SSM, which is here, in place, and favored by the majority of us. Get over it and get on with your lives, people!
We might melt the Golden Dome on this one.

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John Hosty said...

Nice article you've written. I especially like the part where to point out the legislators' need for testicular fortitude, how very true. :)

Anonymous said...

I agree that Barrios's move was so so elegant. The legis. can vote the Travis/Goguen amendment down (easily done), then adjourn, saying 1) they voted on marriage, and 2) the voteonmarriage amendment wasn't worthy of a vote because it was borne of criminal deception on the part of signature gatherers.

Anonymous said...

Travaglini to urge a vote on same-sex marriage amendment
By David Abel, Globe Staff | November 7, 2006

Senate President Robert E. Travaglini will call for a vote at Thursday's constitutional convention on whether a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage should appear on the 2008 ballot, one of his spokesmen said yesterday.

Opponents of gay marriage have raised concern in recent days about a statement Travaglini released last week that they said suggested he planned to kill their proposal on procedural grounds.

On Friday, Travaglini said: "In July, we recessed with the understanding that the Constitutional Convention would take up the remaining items on the calendar when we reconvene. We have the shared responsibility to debate and seek final resolution of all the items remaining on the calendar."

Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, pointed out that Travaglini did not use the word vote.

"After the July Constitutional Convention, he said there would be a vote," Mineau said. "But now he has made a statement to the effect that there would be a 'final resolution.' The Supreme Judicial Court says there can only be final resolution by the full Legislature voting on an amendment."

Christian Scorzoni, a Travaglini spokesman, said the senator has not changed his position.

"I think people are reading too much into the statement," said Scorzoni. "He will call for a vote."

Marc Solomon, campaign director of Mass Equality, said volunteers for his advocacy group have placed 20,000 calls and delivered 30,000 hand-signed postcards to legislators in support of same-sex marriage.

"I know our opponents are trying to find hidden meaning in the senator's statements; we think that's silly," Solomon said.