ConCon: we’re up to gay marriage

There are two proposals on the agenda.  The first is a legislative amendment (i.e., one that was introduced by a legislator rather than through the initiative process) which would not only ban gay marriage but would also appear to bar civil union and domestic partnership legislation.  The second is the initiative petition that would simply restrict marriages to one man and one woman, but says nothing about civil unions.

They’re debating the first one now.  Sen. Augustus is arguing strongly against it.

UPDATE: Rep. O’Brien (D-Kingston) is up now, also arguing against the amendment.  This is going to go on for some time.  I assume that this amendment doesn’t have a chance of getting the majority vote it needs — but then they move on to the next one, which needs only 50 votes.  Are they going to go through the entire debating exercise again?

FURTHER UPDATE: Rep. Travis (“D”-Rehoboth) is up now.  He says he’s voting against the first question — the legislative amendment — because it’s an old issue that’s no longer on the table (among other things, it would appear to nullify existing marriages, which cannot be done).  He’s accusing Sen. Barrios, who apparently is the one who put this on the agenda, of trying to deceive his colleagues by diverting attention from the initiative amendment.  He says there are already at least 12 people signed up to debate this amendment, and is expressing concern that amendment opponents will try to run out the clock.

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50 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. $quot;The message is clear,$quot;

    "It's time to move on!"

  2. Preach it, Ed!

  3. oh my

    this just came to me, though it's a bit of a conspiracy theory: they're going to vote against this one because they'll definately have the votes (it's a legislative one)... they'll table the real one.

    I'm not opposed to that. We'll see what happens.

    • That's one option...

      ... that I've heard before. Certainly would be a way to go.

      • cowardly

        to avoid the vote.  they signed up for the job, they should fulfill all their duties, even if they don't like the outcome.  As I pointed out in my madien post, it would be to trample on the civil rights of 170,000 other citizens of this Commonwealth to kill the amendment by any other means than voting it down.

        • And I would point out...

          I'd just like to point out that it would trample on the civil rights of all the people who would like to just live their lives to have their civil liberties subjected to an up or down vote.

          If this passes today, I'm going to start a petition to define marriage as between "one reproductively active male and one reproductively active female" who produce a child at least once every other year. I mean, it is all about the children, right?

          Then when people moan and complain about having to have their marriage voted on, I'm going to point to posts like this one.

          • Damn straight

            Ban Gray Marriage!

              - Dan

          • if you did

            and you got the signatures, i would argue just as loudly and as strongly on your behalf for a vote in the ConCon, even though i vote against it myself.

            • You are consistent at least...

              ... if not sensible, in my view.

              We'll agree to disagree agreeably, anyway.

              You will, I hope, understand if the concept of my family's most basic rights and protections being subject to a vote is a touchy issue for me.

              • Well thank you

                for that, but since we are on the topic on consistancy, you have switched from marriage being a civil right to a basic right.  Agreeably, Kai.  :)

  4. This one's over

    This one will be defeated, but the second one has always been the one to worry about.  The principle that a minority of the population is able to attempt to establish discrimination into a constitution based on equality needs to be stopped.  Dont think the legislators will though.

  5. BMG

    Love you guys for covering this for us.

  6. Where can we see the roll call?

    Could someone provide a link with the roll call? (If one exists) I'd like to know how my rep voted on this one.

  7. does anyone know if the con con is on any tv station?

    can't find it on necn, ch. 44, ch. 2, etc.

  8. Love how O'Brien

    is exhorting all of these legislators to tap their inner homophobic, to actually embrace their inner homophobia in order to make their marks on history.

    What a bombastic, sanctimonious twit. 

    • I'm confused -

      I thought Tom O'Brien was GONE?  Isn't he Plymouth county Treasurer now?

      • Tom wears two hats

        He is still the Representative of the 12th Plymouth and Plympouth County Treasurer. He declined the nomination for reelection, but never resigned his seat. He felt it would not serve his constituents to leave them without a rep. He is holding down both positions for the few months until his term is up.

  9. What about adjourning?

    I read somewhere they were going to try that.  Any chance of it or did they decide not go that way?

  10. Here's my Strategy

    I think that they are going to have to vote on it one way or the other.  Unfourtunately, I don't think we have enough votes to defeat it in the current format.  I have read that 3/4 of the legislature can amend the wording.  Here's what I propose:

    1.  First Choice - Change the wording to add Same Sex Marriage as a consitutional right, rather than denying it as a right.  That way, there is still a vote, the people get to weigh in too, but nothing changes if it fails

    2.  Second Choice - Change the wording to deny Marriage and Civil Unions.  This way, we know it fails and the Governor can't reconvene the session because it was amended and then voted on. 

  11. They can nullify existing marriages

    Quick correction. They can do it through a legislative ammendment. They can't through an initiative because initiatives can't overturn judicial opinions. In my opinion, the one that's up next does just that, but Tom Reilly and the SJC disagreed.

  12. Barrios

    All I can say is I'm rather enjoying his speech... Not really for the content so much. He had me over at "Let's be straight with the people."

    I think he has a sense of humor =p

    He's made a good case: it's about the 9,000 families this has already supported. He's also making a good point on how shifty public opinion can be. 60% may support it now, but after millions of homophobic attacks are thrown on the air?

  13. Frankly...

    I hope they adjourn before voting on it and just put an end to this whole silly debate.  We should never put the civil rights of any minority on the ballot.

    However, even if it does wind up going on the ballot, I think the amendment would be handily defeated by the voters.  Gay marriage has been legal for quite some time now, and the sky hasn't fallen.  Most people, I think, are content to just move on to more important issues.

    It would be nice, though, to be able to avoid the divisive, hateful, vitriolic campaign that the proponents of this amendment and the Catholic Church would surely wage.

    • not to hark to my only post but..

      i explain how in my (as of yet only post that marriage for straight or gay couples is not a civil right.  Civil rights enable you to participate in our democracy fully.  Marriage is not on a par with access to the ballot box and free speech.

      I'm not saying this because I am anti marriage or anti marriage equality, I am saying it because I hate when people distort things for political benefit.  If you have the correct logic and terminology, you will win the argument.  Just ask the Sophists after Socrates got done with them.

      • marriage may not be a civil right

        But equal protection under the law is, I believe. So when the government creates a legal institution and bans certain members from partaking, that should be overturned without a strong showing  of need/necessity/state interest, etc.

        • we do it all the time

          Even if gay marriage survives the ConCon and the ballot, incestuous marriage will still be illegal.  Twelve year olds wont get drivers licenses.  Felons wont get ballots.  That state excludes people from institutions all the time.

          Should we be marching in the streets so that fathers who wish to marry thier daughters can get the same equal protection under the law?

          • felons

            Only incarcerated felons don't get ballots in Massachusetts.  Released felons, and incarcerated people who committed misdemeanors, can vote.

          • oh please..

            "Save us, Lord, save us from the heathens and the gays!"

            I think you'll like this website better. It's more your flavor.

            • nope

              For one thing, I never said I was in favor of this proposal.  I never even said I was straight.  I'm a committed Democrat who gave money to, and volunteered for, one of the Dem candidates for Gov endorsed by gay organizations in this Commonwealth.  I even spread it around, helping both Bob Casey knock off Santorum and Harold Ford (I was even at the Convention when he said "Thank you President, err, I mean Senator Kerry - years before Kerry ever announced) in Tennessee.

              You shouldn't be as quick to judge as a lot of the people standing on Beacon Street Right now.

          • Oh, please.

            While you're at it, don't forget to mention man-on-dog sex.

          • Twelve-year-olds

            are minors and as such are legally incapble of informed consent.  Society has a compelling interest in prohibiting incest, as well, for a variety of reasons.  And while we're at it, let's talk about the barnyard scenario that's sure to follow.  Or not.

            Boy, your arguments are straight from the GOP playbook, and I don't give a rat's ass what you claim below. 

            • but marriage isn't about sex

              according to Goodridge.  If it is not about sex, why not allow a man and his daught, or a woman and her son to marry?  Seriously, why not?

              • Marriage,

                by its nature, is a legal arrangement reserved for persons of majority or consenting adults. 

                No court has asserted that sexuality is not implicit in marriage.  None.  So refrain from twisting the Goodridge decision in such a self-serving fashion. 


                • forgive me

                  ...for using imprecise language.  I should have said that Goodridge stated that marriage is not about procreation, rather than saying its not about sex.  The state argued that it had a legitimate interest in limiting marriage to straight couples because only they were able to produce children.  The Goodridge decision stated that:

                  The judge in the Superior Court endorsed the first rationale, holding that "the state's interest in regulating marriage is based on the traditional concept that marriage's primary purpose is procreation." This is incorrect. … While it is certainly true that many, perhaps most, married couples have children together (assisted or unassisted), it is the exclusive and permanent commitment of the marriage partners to one another, not the begetting of children, that is the sine qua non of civil marriage.

                  Again I ask, if marriage is not “the begetting of children,” then why not allow family members to enter into marriage, a “legal arrangement reserved for persons of majority or consenting adults”?

                  • None

                    as long as the consenting adult couple could prove they will never reproduce.  The problem is that condition precludes equal protection under the law. 

                    You completely disregard the notion that the application of law considers common sense. 

      • Civl rights

        Does rights to property (tenancy by entirety) by married folks or preferential tax benefits for married couples constitute Civil rights?

      • that's a narrow view

        Civil rights extend far beyond that. Habius corpus, equal protection, etc. etc. etc. could all fit into that catagory.

        Civil rights should extend to a person's right that doesn't effect others - be it gay marriage or privacy issues.

  14. crowds outside State House, four hours ago

    For what it's worth, when I walked past the State House around noon, there were 3-4 times as many MassEquality people (on the north side of Beacon) as VoteOnMarriage people (on the south side).

    • Watertown is perfect

      The last time I walked by one of these protests in front of the statehouse, the anti-gay marriage crowd consisted mostly of people bussed in from out of state.  Hardly representative of the MA voters....

      • Out of state

        Most of the funding for the ballot initiative drive came from out of state. And if you think this is bad, just wait until this makes it to the ballot (if it does.) Massachusetts will become ground zero for every culture warrior from Utah to Georgia as Focus for the Family and other organizations pour money into ads and activists. It will be really, really ugly.

  15. Hair do

    Me thinks the woman who speaks right now has her wig on too tight!

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Fri 24 Feb 2:31 PM