A truly revolting display

The results are in: the legislature took a vote on the merits of the anti-marriage amendment, and advanced it to the 2007-08 session, but did not do so on the health care amendment, so it died on the vine.  So they have — no question — violated their oaths of office.  And they’ve made those of us who asked them to follow the law on the marriage amendment, even though we suspected the results would be disappointing, look pretty silly.  Thanks guys.

Now they’re giving themselves big rounds of applause, cheering heartily for their colleagues who are leaving the legislature (either voluntarily or otherwise).


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147 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. In other words

    they have pissed everyone off with the exception of the present Governor.  Nice.

    Ours is not a healthy legislature, truly.

  2. So you're upset because...

    They made you look "silly?"  Gosh... I sure feel bad David.  :(

    • No.

      I'm upset because they've violated the law, violated their oaths, and apparently done it because they think it's more important to bury a health care amendment they don't want on the ballot than it is to protect marriage equality.  If they were going to do this, they might as well have adjourned the fucking session.

      I had some faint glimmer of hope that they might have some integrity.  So much for that.

      • I'm so glad

        the process people have learned their lesson and lost their blinders about the real world.

        Fortunately, the devastating consequences will be borne by others.

        • those others

          Those others are we who are brave enough to hold hands in public, be openly gay in highschool, or walk down the street while clearly not conforming to the gender norms set by society. We will take the uptake in violence this has caused. Thanks legislators. Thanks right-wing bigots. Thanks process liberals. And thanks to the misguided gay marriage advocates in suits who fell into this trap in the first place.  -for the violence we are about to endure.

      • That is just wrong.

        I did not support the amendment, but I absolutely supported the right of people to vote on it (my old health insurance training coming out - the admin costs aren't a great as advertised, and single payer isn't a great solution).  Why was it killed when it was advanced in the last session?

      • 2010 scenario quite possible

        Health care amendment flames out, while the marriage amendment moves forward.  Best of all possible worlds!  A win-win!


        I say this only to point out the perverse logic of most bloggers here, the big exception being David who was at least intellectually honest and consistent in his view that BOTH amendments should have carried.

        If these 2 votes had gone the other way, there'd be progressive jubilation, and unbearable moral preening.  Instead, most of the comments here have exposed your blatant, ends-justify-the-means hypocrisy.  If it's your issue, it's ok to kill the amendment by any means.

        And another thing.  If same-sex marriage is so righteous, why are its supporters fearful of a vote on the issue?  Cannot same-sex marriage supporters win at the ballot box?  Are a majority of citizens in Massachusetts "bigots"? 

        • there is a very good chance...

          ...that the majority of the citizens in MA are bigots, yes.  Just as a majority of people in the US were bigots during the civil rights era.  Not such a difficult concept to embrace.

        • Are you this willfully ignorant all the time, or is it just now?

          The United States was founded on principles of equality--not perfectly executed, even now, but the intent was clear.

          Equal rights for all citizens. Protection of the rights of the minority against the TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY. Get it?? This is why WE DO NOT VOTE ON CIVIL RIGHTS.

          I don't care if every single voter in Massachusetts voted FOR the amendment. The point is, WE DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT to vote on other people's civil rights.

          Jesus Christopher Columbus! Why is this such a difficult concept?

          Oh wait--I'm guessing that some of this tunnel vision is deliberate, because some people still want to pretend that their contemptible demands for a vote are upholding some shabby facade of faux-patriotism.

          Let's just say this once. We see through you. You're not patriots--you are bigots. Own up to it.

          I'm sorry I'm so loud here, but I am reaching the end of my patience, both with the haters and with the process democrats (I will not say process liberals because I can't believe any true liberal would have put principle aside for process) who have allowed this to happen.

          Shame on you. Shame on all of you.

          • Uh, $quot;We do not vote on civil rights$quot;

            How do you think we got them in the first place?

            • To be clearer

              I think it is more accurate to say that we do not vote on whether to continue/abolish existing civil rights.  Sure, we vote to expand the sphere of rights (though a lot of that is, as we all know, done through the judiciary), but historically, we, on the state and national leve, do not leave it up to the general public to make a determination as to whether an existing right should be limited or abolished all together.

          • What Bob said below

            Of course we vote on civil rights.  It's how our country developed a concensus on ... everything. 

            Without social progress being political progress, who defines what equal rights are?  Arlene Issacson?  An handful of legislators?  PETA?  The NRA?  The Vatican?

            It's obvious that progressive believe same-sex marriage is, out of the box, an irrefutable civil right.  But maybe the body politic disagrees, and wishes to reserve its right to register their opinion, and to have a hand in the decision.

            This is not to say voters do not support same-sex marriage; maybe they do.  But isn't it obvious that they wish to be heard?  I think this is what the SJC decision ultimately means: the people should be heard.

            If the people are not heard, then you are advocating that important social and politic decisions be made by ... you.  And only you.

            You, and not me, get to speak.  Only your definition of civil rights is acceptable.  Mine is abhorent, wrong, bigoted.  So I must not be heard politically.

            So do whatever you you think is right.  Why not polygamy?  Can not that be construed by a minority as a civil right?  Why not convince the SJC it indeed is a civil right?

            Has its time come? Maybe, or maybe not. But shouldn't that be a political question answered by political means, i.e., by the people? 

            The civil rights movement was foremost a political movement.  Same-sex marriage should be one too.

  3. Time for Process Folks to commit to solid equality work, starting TODAY

    The legislature has indeed chumped you naive process folks, and for people like me, life enters another level of hell today.  The legislature CLEARLY acted out of homophobia, not duty.

    I ask you all to follow through on promises made these past few months, and start acting TODAY for a defeat of the amendment next year.  This time, I do hope you will be more willing to let those most affected by these outcomes lead the strategy.

    • I'm with you.

      It makes me sad, but there it is.

      • Great to hear.


      • Or

        you could work to ensure that the Constitutional process in place doesn't get abused again.  It may be easier to give in to cynicism, but at the end of the day I thought you would be better than that, David. 

        You stood before the bar and took an oath as well once.  Will you now fabricate evidence to help your client if you REALLY think he is innocent?  Once you are willing to help, and even encourage, others to break their oaths, whats the point in upholding your own?

      • I'm very upset

        But not surprised, my Rep. John Fresolo, voted Yes. 

        I knew that he was going to vote yes, if forced to.  He's a strict Roman Catholic and we know what they do to public officials that dare go against doctrine. 

        But I say it's time to tell the Legislature were going start asking to put all of their "traditional marriages" under the same process, Let's vote on their marriages!!!!!  Whooooa, what a concept!!!!

        I'm ready...though Deval wants it to go to the back burner, I can be as clandestine, when need be.  Take a page from them, quietly behind the scene. I'm looking for a new candidate for my district, it's no longer why we elected him and sent him to Boston, when his religion comes before all of his constituents...time to take a look see at candidates that go there to uphold the state's laws and actions.

    • Start with Trav

      Today could have gone differently. The ball was in his court and he showed that he doesn't give a damn.

      Full court press starting tomorrow.

      • I called Trav...

        I called Trav's office during the first recess today, because I live in his district.  An aide or staffer took down my message, which ended with, "I pledge to canvass for your opponent in a primary, if you don't change your vote".

        • Is Trav running again..if so..I'll work to see him out of office

          I guess I am naive too.  I can't believe Trav killed the healthcare amendment..and if so, why not kill anti-gay amendment in same way?  I heard he is not running again but likely to work for Partners Health. If he runs, I will work to see him out of office. I am so tired of the games.  JJA

      • Travaglini - the new Tom Finneran

        Trav got exactly the outcomes he wanted today. The only surprise was how blatant he was about it. He moved the gay marriage ban closer to the ballot and he killed health care.

        I'm betting he chuckled all the way home. His messages to the various players:

          - Trav to the gays: I told you to take civil unions last year! You didn't want 'em so now you could end up with zip.  - Trav to Barbara Anderson: Hey, Barb! Thanks for helping move the gay marriage ban along. Now, was there something else you wanted?  (chuckle)  - Trav to Deval: Don't come in here and lecture me. You're the new kid on the block and you get zip without my say-so. (Trav's second public slap at Deval)  - Trav to Sal: You may have the votes, but I've got the gavel and that's what counts in Con-Cons. You guys didn't know how good you had it when you had Birmingham and Finneran.  - Trav to Romney: Hope you like my going away gift to you and your Prez campaign. I hope you'll remember me and get me a good Prez appointment because I'm having NO luck finding a gig like Finneran snagged.  - Trav to all the big employers around the state: Will SOMEBODY get me a job!

  4. Kill the G-M amedment

    So much for the process at work. It is time to kill the gay marriage amendment anyway...anyhow. How long do people have to live in this hate filled atmostphere?

    • It's not David's fault

      David took a principled position on a matter of constitutional law only to see the legislature blow past such niceties. All you GLBT folks out there should resist the urge to blame our allies when our opponents screwed principle along with us. We need their help now more than ever, and I'm grateful to have Blue Mass Group on our side.

      • agree to a point

        tudor586 is right.  however, i think it is only expected that some lgbt folks and allies will be blowing steam for a while.  it's to be expected.  this is a painful outcome for us.  hopefully though we can blow steam in a productive manner.  if not, well, just put up with it for a bit.  we've earned some griping rights.

        • Suck an egg.

          Don't you dare tell me (and others) to put up with your blowing steam.

          Instead, consider asking.  You haven't earned any right to "blow steam" in my direction -- or the direction of most folks around here.  We're not your enemies, and frankly, you don't have a chance at equality without us.

          (Where "us" is progressive heterosexuals within MA)

          • That's real nice, stomv

            ...frankly, you don't have a chance at equality without us.

            Look, if you believe that gay and lesbian deserve equal protection under the law, as provided by the Massachusetts Constitution (at the moment), then support us.  If not, don't.

            How polite or rude a particular gay or lesbian person is to you has nothing to do with it.

            • In some cases

              It may not factually or reasonably have anything to do with it, but not everyone makes every decision factually or reasonably. Imagine this:

              I stand outside the polls with a big Patrick/Murray sign on Election Day. As each and every person walks in, I tell them to go fuck themselves. Should this affect their logical decision whether or not to vote for my candidate? Of course not. Would it? Of course it would.

              The fact is, if you're an activist of any kind you are the face of your cause, perhaps the only one some folks will see,  and you should act accordingly.

              • Go tell it to Barbara Roop

                I'm already clear on the concept, thanks.

              • OK rollbiz and others I've offended by venting

                I'm done venting now, so you can stop feeling wronged now.  Fair enough?

                • So long as your serious

                  Venting is cool,  I just felt it got aimed at others presenting valid points, and then me when I spoke up. I just worry about having it out in an open forum for a few reasons, not the least of which is that if you've been to any of VOM's events you know that they go out of their way to tape the shit out of our side to get the tidbit or two that makes us look bad. I'm on tape doing it myself, caught by VOM folk in a video called "nuts.wmv"(What blows my mind is that they consider this nuts, but I digress...) That's how they do, and they'll do it here. So speak your mind, but be ultra-aware that anything you say becomes indelible and subject to usage by those working to derail marriage equality or whatever else you're writing about. I've had things I've written or said pulled waaay out of context too many times to mention.

                  I'm writing more than I wanted to in response to you saying that you're done venting and it's because this response isn't just addressed to you or your last comment. I'm sorry about what happened today in the name of gay rights and civil rights generally, but I'm not the enemy and neither is anyone who supports marriage equality, in the grand scheme of things...I'm also not trying to pick on you or anything like that. I'm on your side of this issue totally.

                  But I digress again. Hopefully tomorrow will be better for you, me, gay rights, and civil rights as a whole. I'll work for it, I know you will too...Let's work together.

          • With all due respect, I think your reply to Laurel was a bit harsh . . .

            At the end of the day, "we" (as in your "us") can go home, cry, drink, feel horrible, whatever. But it doesn't interfere with our rights. We're not the ones who would have to be deprived of things we take absolutely for granted--getting married, having kids, being able to visit our loved ones in the hospital.

            Laurel, you vent as much as you want. We have let you down.

          • i wasn;t replying to you

            interesting that you thought i was

        • Yeah, I sympathize

          I still am totally convinced that urging a vote was the correct political -- as well as procedural -- strategy for supporters of marriage equality.

          • Too bad Trav doesn't share your enthusiasm for political correctness

          • I'm not so sure

            Certainly the legislature-centric strategy--stop it now by any means--proved to be in some ways brittle and weak. It failed, and led activists to cede the populist ground to the bad guys, which is never a good thing.

            Possibly, also, had the legislature just adjourned without a vote, that would have fueled backlash and damaged the case for equality either here or in other states. (Add "violating their oath of office" to "activist judges," etc. This is all hypocritical bunkum, but still potent stuff.) That would have been a victory, but not the best one possible.

            Despite this, I am not convinced that "urging a vote" was the best strategy, at least given that doing so was not, in fact, the strategy that the activists on the ground had committed themselves to.

            To be sure, had these activists accepted the inevitability of a vote from the start, they could have focused their efforts on winning that vote. Had the vote taken place in the spring or summer of last year, we would at least have had an opportunity to make an issue of the vote in legislative elections last fall.

            I don't want to go too far with that, as there are clearly risks in that strategy too, and hindisght of course is easy.

            Alternatively, I think the disobey-Article-48 option could have been executed differently (and better). Legislators could have really taken a stand in an extremely principled and public way, rather than just to sort of maybe be willing to let the anti-marriage amendment get lost under the rug somehow. True civil disobedience, not mere legislative shenanegans-as-usual.

            This would have been at least as good a strategy, I suggest, as urging a vote turned out to be. Particularly since the Joint Session went on to flout Article 48 anyway, don't you think?

            In any case: It's hard, it's not fair, but you have to do that political ju-jitsu and sometimes even lose in order to win later.

      • Principles

        I would think that valuing "process" over ensuring that people can/will not be disenfranchised is quite lacking in principles, actually.

      • In a way, it is his fault and the fault of those like him...

        ...who advocated for a vote on this amendment to rescind the civil rights of some of us.  Civil liberties do not belong on a ballot...never have, never will.

        Well, at least I can feel good about Deval Patrick.  His outspokeness on this issue makes me proud that I worked for and supported him.  That is one of the few good things that came out of today.

      • David (and others) should have known better

        It was the height of naivete to expect an outcome different from the one we got today.  We've seen before how the lege operates and we've seen before how the anti-gay bigots operate.

        What happened today was that a special exemption from longstanding and traditional standard operating procedure (such as it is) was made--specifically for the purpose of sh*tting on gay and lesbian people.  And no one has any excuse for not having seen that coming from miles and miles away.

        No, the lege's actions are not David's fault, but David's actions are.  And he's the one who chose to launch his crusade for "process"--playing games with the constitutional rights of his fellow citizens (certainly not his own) to try to make a point.

        "Silly" doesn't really begin to cut it.

        • Oh please.

          Like the legislature gave a crap what I thought.  They did what they did because of the SJC.

          • Actually...

            The legislators monitor public opinion (or what they think indicates it) very closely.  We need a much more united front/message next time.

            Your fault or not, we need a very united front next time.

          • They do care what you think.

            You have legislators commenting on this site and posting, you have a mouthpiece and can influence debate. As Charley pointed out "he was on NECN". You chaired the a transition team on "civic engagement". You bear responsibility because you didn't use the power that you know that you have to support gays and lesbians. Don't try and run from it now.

            I believe it might have been different if you and others like you had stepped forward for gays and lesbians.

            • Me too, me too!

              I supported a vote too. And I personally think that those who urged procedural games to avoid a vote set back marriage equality more than those who urged a vote on the merits.

            • from what i have seen on BMG

              the trio who run it, along with just about 100% of its regular commenters/posters, have been "stepping forward" again and again and again to express extremely strong support for marraige equality by urging a NO vote on on the anti-equal marriage amendment.

              i also tend to agree with the commenter who said that what's been discussed on BMG about to vote or recess without a vote etc pales when put up against the corporate power brokers who rule this state along with our gov't "leadership".

              what used to be referred to as "the vault" still exists but just without the catchy name.  i suppose it would be fitting to call it "the cabal".  take a look thru the Glob archives for how the content of the final HC law (chap 58) was ultimately hammered out...in a conference room high up in the hancock tower by a group of 8 white men, as i recall.

              "they" care what "we" think only in so far as it can be used as a prop for their pre-determined designs, imho.  the balance of power is what needs a realignment. thankfully our new guv seems to want to work on this fundamental concern, or dynamic, too.

  5. Revolting Photograph of Two Nuns at the State House

    Christian my ass!  Bigotry ain't Christian!

  6. Not to mention a great get-out-the-vote issue for Romney '08

    Way to go, 'process' liberals! 

    • Huge victory for Romney, Huge Defeat for the 21st Century

      Huge slap in the face to Deval, oh and every lunatic hater in the country is going to come here and pour in money to turn us into Bloody Massachusetts, so yee haw! No just a great day, but a great two years that will probably screw up our political culture beyond repair.

      The process will surely survive that, though, so no worries.

  7. You know what?

    I know passions are running a bit high today, but I take issue with Laurel and Steve accussing "process" people of being naive and telling me all about the so-called "real world."

    First of all, I'm as equally disgusted with the legislature today as you all are.  I'm on your side in all this.  And the only real difference in our opinions lies in the perfectly reasonable expectation that elected officials do their jobs.  Don't turn around and blame ME because the vote didn't go your way.  Get organized and let's get them in the next round.  There are 62 legislators out there who should be afraid for their seats right now.  Who do we have in Billerica that will run?  What about Quincy?  What about Fall River?  THOSE are the questions you need to start asking.

    As soon as I start listening to talk about ends justfication, I walk out the door with my support.  I started getting involved in Massachusetts politics to make a difference in government, to help make it a better place, not to engage in the kind of rhetoric or activity that ultimately led to the result that we see here today.

    It was never a sense of naivity that led to my position on the vote - but a sense that three issues would have to be forced:  the first two being same sex marriage and health care, and the last being the legislatures commitment to its oath of office.  Now that these positions are out in the open, what will we all do about it?

    The battle for open and honest government is absolutely not a battle that ends with one vote, or one election.  You'll face that fight everyday for the rest of your lives.  Count on it.

    The question is, do you rise above it, or sink to that level and perpetuate the problem?

    • Two points

      1) The elections already happened.  We know who's incoming.  We don't have the votes.

      2) The process is the way things actually work, not the way you think they ought to.  Adjournment is part of the process.  You can decide whether you want to win this or not -- but when a process is used over and over again but you say NOT to use it to protect equal rights for gays, maybe you should soul search a little bit.

    • blowing steam and moving forward

      Ed, as I said above (but of course I only speak for myself), folks around here should expect some steam venting to be happening for a bit.  This is a crushing outcome and so its only natural to lash out.  I trust that you can stay above it all even if you feel the lashing is unjustified.

      As for looking for new candidates, we don't have an election before the ConCon reconvenes next year.  However, I highly suggest that you contact MassEquality or GLAD or an organization of your choice that has been activly working on this issue and see how you can help. 

      Thanks for your understanding and willingness to help.

    • Look

      "As soon as I start listening to talk about ends justfication, I walk out the door with my support"

      You're entitled to that opinion, certainly. But someone who can't be sure whether she'll be allowed to be at her wife's side in the hospital when her wife's calling for her is equally entitled not to care.

      I'm straight, and I really find it offensive how high-and-mighty the "process" people can be. Sure, we all believe in open, honest government. But by god, this isn't some theoretical issue for those whose lives will be affected every day in the most intimate ways by the outcome.

      Parliamentary procedure is part of the process. It's been used in the past, hell, as David points out, it was used today. There's not going to be any outcry or any change, it's not going to be regarded as the be-all end-all of life on this planet. So why is it that in this unique instance we expect the GLBT community to sign up to have their basic rights violated with a smaile on their faces and a song in their hearts, or else they're ends-justify-the-means hypocrites? It's easy to say, but apparently harder to realize that we're sitting in the cheap seats here. We would have more moral authority if our rights were up for garbs and we were still more concerned about the process than anything else. But it's unlikely that that will be put to the test.

      I can say for certainty that if my rights were being abridged like the GLBT community's are, I really wouldn't be too upset if a bit of civil disobedience went my way for a change while I'm taking it on the chin in all kinds of other ways. Maybe, just maybe, there are other principles here than the process and anyone who disagrees isn't motivated by an outsized sense of entitlement, disregard for the laws, or hypocrisy. Expecting gays to think of their lives as some big political parlor game isn't the way to build alliances because it's not the most reasonable stand possible.

      • Thank you sienna,

        and expecially for this

        Expecting gays to think of their lives as some big political parlor game isn't the way to build alliances because it's not the most reasonable stand possible.


      • A couple of things

        First: You're right, parliamentary procedure is part of the process. That's why I held off from commenting on this until the SJC decision, which was unequivocal: They have to vote. What they've done here on health care (for instance) is extra-legal, and a farce. And as such, it calls the whole process into question. (Hell, the process as of now is a straight-up sham. I guess we know that now.)

        Two: No one here thinks of this as some kind of game. This is dead serious. That's why we have to win it, decisively and fairly. The issue deserves nothing less.

        • Eh?

          First, we knew that before now... and we pointed out to you guys that it's happened again and again and again.  (Why is that so tough to understand?)

          The process is the process, sham or not.  And yet you're STILL saying we should abide by some other set of rules that doesn't apply in most other cases (including today) even though we will lose that way -- which we also knew going into this.

          And by the way, the "issue" doesn't deserve shit.  The PEOPLE deserve it... they certainly deserve better than what you're offering.

          • This is politics, not process

            Marriage equality supporters should run proud, as the majority, and as supporters of what is morally right and good for our economy. The instant we allow ourselves to be presented as weak, and dependent only on parliamentary shenanigans for whatever "rights" we claim to have is the instant they will lose those rights. Every civil rights is voted on at some point. That is why it is so important to come out and fight, not hide behind hopes and dreams and the whims of a corrupt legislature.

            • Sure Bob

              Maybe we should.  But on the other hand, maybe we want to win.

              It is not US who are hinding behind hopes and dreams.  This is real politic.  We're actually THERE fighting.

              Your statement, by the way, that "the instant we allow ourselves to be presented as weak, and dependent only on parliamentary shenanigans for whatever "rights" we claim to have is the instant they will lose those rights." sounded very profound... until I realized that it's simply incorrect and you have not a shred of evidence to suggest otherwise.

              But thanks for the effort.

              • Maybe winning is hard

                and maybe one way to do it is as Bob suggests.

                He can speak for himself of course, but the idea that the way forward should entail building on and harnessing popular support for marriage rights, rather than on getting in bed with the pols and hoping they won't screw you, is at least worthy of consideration.

                Maybe it is the way to win.

        • Evidently the process now has an extra step

          Every time you want to require a vote on a petition amendment, you now have to have the SJC specifically state that the legislature is required to vote on that particular petition amendment. As I understand it, no one went to court to try and force a vote on the healthcare amendment, therefore they didn't have to vote on it. (snark)

          • Actually - yes.

            the health care people filed an amicus brief, and it was obvious that the decision applied to them as well.

            The attention span of the Legislature is such that it's 'difficult' for them to process two seperate issues at once.

            That said - it was still wrong.

    • OMG

      "the only real difference in our opinions lies in the perfectly reasonable expectation that elected officials do their jobs. "

      And you say you're not naive? You don't have any idea how politics works, has worked, and always will work, from now until the sun turns into a red giant--do you? Politicians respond to pressure and money and interests, and always have. The only good thing about democracy is that they don't have to respond to guns.

      You are the moral equivalent of a Nader voter. You have some sort of sophomore-symposium view of what process should be, and smugly refuse to participate in anything that doesn't pass muster.

      In reality, legislatures have been using adjournments, committee burials and worse to do their work since before there was a Constitution--since the Magna Carta, for cripes' sake. That's what a legislature does, regardless of whether it looks pretty in an American Civ textbook or not.

      So cut it with the ends-justifies-the-means crap. Nobody's talking about sending in the SS here. We're just talking about reality.

      Do you have any idea of the kinds of tactics LBJ used to pass the Civil Rights Act? Perhaps black people should go back to separate drinking fountains to avoid offending anybody's delicate process sensibilities.

      • Ah yes

        Do you have any idea of the kinds of tactics LBJ used to pass the Civil Rights Act? Perhaps black people should go back to separate drinking fountains to avoid offending anybody's delicate process sensibilities.

        I'm responding only to point out how dangerously close you're coming to alienating potential allies here.

        Yes, bills are blocked in committee.  Fillibusters are used.  But, the differences is that the Warren Court never accussed LBJ of shirking his Constitutional duty.  No one ever told Carl Alpert he was shirking his duty.  No one ever accused John McCormick of violating his oath of office.  The House of Representatives had rules in the '60s, and they're different rules than the Mass legislature has now.  So, before you pop-off again, get your facts straight.

        The better analogy is:  What if Nixon refuses to turn over tapes and documents, or refuses to leave office? Our system of government, and the way it is supposed to function IS important.  The government does not get to act arbitrarily and in defiance of the courts.

        You seem to be saying: Yes, but it's always been corrupt and back-handed, and today I wanted it to be corrupt and backhanded for ME!

        Well, I've got nothing for you on that.  But if you've got something constructive to say sometime, I'm all ears.

        • $quot;Alienating potential allies$quot;

          I'll say something to that.  If you are still saying that the legislature should not vote to adjourn next year, you're not a potential ally.

          Thank you for playing.  I hope others learned the lesson today. 

          • You're wrong.

            You're wrong, and while you won't change my opinion on marriage equality, if you and enough others keep this "You're either with us or against us" crap up you may very well just shoot us all in the foot if this makes the '08 ballot.

            I'd recommend a deep breath and a moment of thought about that.

            • you seem to need us to grovel, o potential ally

              if this is not the case, then shut up please for a few hours and let us vent.  you claim that we're doing ourselves no favors.  are you doing us any favors by pouring salt on wounds.  crimminey!  some people have no heart! holding support hostage like this is disgusting.

              • Are you kidding me?

                If you want to grovel, grovel. You want to vent? Vent for fucks sake. But don't do it AT those who don't exactly agree with your stance because when you're done venting, some of them will remember it and may decide differently about things because they were treated like shit. I already made it clear that my support is unwavering, so just dismiss that dig right now. I have no heart?!? I'm a straight guy who has stuck my neck out far for marriage equality because it's the right thing to do. I've spoken out for marriage equality and about this assault here, KnowThyNeighbor, Bay Windows, In News Weekly, and anyone else who would listen, and I've done it in my own name. In doing so, I've become a target for the VOM folks right down to my own father. I'll be at the next rally, or courtroom, or the next LGBT newspaper just like before. I don't want your groveling, just a little respect for both myself and those who in the end STILL SUPPORT SAME SEX MARRIAGE.

                You ought to be ashamed.

                • This is sad

                  Surely you are not comparing being a target for these people because you spoke out on something with being a target for these people because you simply exist.....or comparing your father getting ticked at you to being written out of the Constitution.

                  Who ought to be ashamed?

                  • Wow.

                    I never made equal comparisons of either of your situations. Please do me the solid of actually reading what I wrote.

                    What I said was that I resent greatly being told that "I have no heart" and that my statements are "disgusting" simply because I advocate against bashing the process folks because we may need them down the road.

                    But obviously, you and a few others are far too worked up for logic. So rock on. Tell people how stupid they are. Question whether I should be ashamed of myself. See where that gets you.

                    • Hurrah

                      You resent being told those things.....none of which came from me. I resent that my rights as a human being can be put up for a vote and so-called allies actually think that it is morally acceptable for that to happen. Classy.

                    • I resent that you don't read what I've said and written

                      From the Worcester rally post I wrote and linked for you:

                      It's a reminder of exactly why this initiative needs to be killed ASAP. Can you imagine the nastiness that two more years of campaigning for and against this discriminatory initiative would cause?

                      I never attributed those comments to you, I just mentioned why I resent them. I do not think this is morally acceptable to vote on marriage equality and I am against the people voting on any civil right including same sex marriage. What you need to realize is the reality that, if this does make it to a ballot, you'll need the support of both my kind and the same sex marriage supporters who wish to be able to cast a vote on the matter. I don't agree with their position, but it took one step closer to becoming reality today. I'm sorry if I'm too straight or my sacrifices don't mean enough to you. I just ask that you understand that I make them, for you and all others who deserve equal rights and protections under the law, in spite of the fact that my rights wouldn't be changed in any way if I didn't. A lot of others, including the protester who was assaulted in Worcester, do the same.

              • No, no, no.

                Laurel, it's like this:  if you don't behave, people will no longer be your "potential allies."  You see, your behavior as well as the behavior of all of the other gays & lesbians out there are what's important, the deal breaker. It's not the actual merits of the civil rights you are fighting to preserve, which, you might think deserve support and respect irrespective of individual personalities, it's all in how you act. 

                IOW, don't get too uppity or they won't support you your rights.  Now behave.  /snark

                • thank you lightiris

                  i quite forgot myself.  let me jsut reapply a fresh coat of uncle tom's eversmile(TM) and i'll be fit to present once again.  whew!  that was close!

                • Please

                  Because I so respect all of your time and commenting here, I respectfully plead that you reread the exchange above to see whether the issue as you frame it actually makes sense, because what I see is people lashing out at "process liberals", and at me for simply mentioning that we might not want to piss off those who, if this goes to a popular vote, would be supporters, in a pretty unproductive manner. Personally, I'm a "kill it any way, any how" guy, but you have to see that the reality is we've moved one step closer to this making the ballot.

                  • Let them vent

                  • I understand emotions

                    were running high here last night, but I must admit that I really don't see this exchange or the others quite as you do.  I think the fundamental divide here is the value of process integrity over the risk of an unethical outcome.  Your frustration with Laurel and her frustration with you are evidence of this.  There really isn't going to a real detente on this issue, especially now.  Hence, my comment about behavior, in my view, is legitimate.  Those who personally feel the stinging loss today have every right to be angry and to vent their frustration AND have every right to expect those who support the underlying cause to be patient, respectful, and tolerant. 

                    I will say, however, that I absolutely believe that if the people who are frustrated with the gay/lesbian folks on this thread were talking, instead, to black people with the issue being equality under the law, I daresay the respect for process that, by it's nature, has the potential to deny people their civil rights would be far less rigorous. 

        • Sometimes ears aren't enough

          As Jesus pointed out, there are those with ears who will not hear. If the brazen selectivity of the Senate leadership in deciding what petitions got votes and which didn't doesn't open your eyes, I can't help you.

        • Plenty of people...

          ...accused the reunification congress of hijacking the amendment process to get the 14th Amendment passed.  There is a small minority of legal scholars even today who still maintain that it should not be in the document as a result.  I'm sure you don't need me to enumerate all the good that has come from that Amendment.  Every once in a while the end does seem to justify the means, especially when there is no demonstrable harm other than ideological.  I was on the fence.  I am no longer.  Kill it by whatever means necessary.

        • I see

          you are made very uncomfortable by the realization we would still have black-only toilets in Mississippi if we didn't know how to play hardball politics in 1964.


          There are many things that make process liberals look particularly silly today.

          One is the fetishization of process. Sure, it's an important value. However, it's not the only important value. Values compete, and sometimes you have to choose one good over the other. That's life; only a child fails to understand that.

          So, I would ask the process liberal: Do you report the runaway slave in your basement? If not, you're breaking the law; the proper process is to argue peacefully for an amendment against slavery. Do you make an exception in this case? Why--just because you disagree with slavery?

          By contrast, Nixon withholding the tapes was not a "good." It was not a fundamental civil right, and even Nixon never argued it was. So there, the choice was much easier.

          The second reason that process liberals look silly today is they way they fetishize the recent SJC pronouncement. As I've already explained several times, the court's musings on the duty of the legislature had no affect on the outcome of the case, which was dismissal. That makes its pronouncements on the issue mere dicta, and dicta have no binding legal significance whatsoever. The fact that process liberals are SO concerned about the so-called constitutional requirement (which few constitutional scholars agree with) and so UNconcerned about the fact that the court's statements were mere dicta is...interesting, to say the least. It seems the legislators are not the only people whose concern with process is curiously selective.

          • I'm on your side...

            ...and I now support legislative maneuvers, but please, please, please stop calling the SJC's dismissal of the complaint dicta.  They dismissed, yes, but there was a ruling in LIMITS that enumerates the responsibility to vote and the lack of remedy should that responsibility not be honored.  This is not dicta.  It is precedent.

            If the legislature uses procedural maneuvers to kill the amendemnt in the next session it will be a decision to honor one constitutional principal over another.  I would respect this decision.  I would not respect an inaccurate rationalization that the principal to vote did not exist, because it does. 

            • Look,

              it is dicta. The court did not even enter a declaratory judgment . And most importantly, the existence or nonexistence of a constitutional obligation to vote--a miraculous discovery after all these years, by the way--is completely irrelevant to the outcome. That is the definition of dicta. Only reasoning that determines outcome is precedent, OK? And not even a state or federal supreme court can hold otherwise.

              • Your definition of dicta...

                ...is not as absolute as you would like it to be. And the obligation to vote was not miraculously discovered in the last three years. There was a precedent set in LIMITS.  See the following:

                "A joint session of the General Court held under Mass. Const. amend. art. 48 should take final action upon all amendments pending before it. The only remedy set forth in Mass. Const. amend. art. 48 for the failure of a joint session to act is a direction to the Governor to call a joint session or a continuance of a joint session if the joint session fails in its duty. Mass. Const. amend. art. 48 provides no judicial remedy." (Limits v. President of Senate, 414 Mass. 31, 1992)

                "When the purpose of Mass. Const. amend. art. 48 has been frustrated, the only remedy may come from the influence of public opinion, expressed ultimately at the ballot box." (Id.)

            • There was no ruling, and no precedent

              there was discussion, but the only order was to dismiss. There is no place for "precedent" or "ruling" in such an order. The discussion was unequivocal, and certainly will be cited the next time the issue comes up, but technically it cannot be called "precedent."

              • The only $quot;precedent$quot; is legislative

                to wit: in the face of two clear rulings from the SJC, a majority can still kill an initiative amendment by sending it to a study committee.

                It's not too late to apply this precedent to the anti-marriage amendment.

          • I think we all need to

            go out, get drunk, and then think about this in the morning. Its been a bad day.

        • Nixon committed criminal acts

          Please tell us what "crime" the legislators committed by not voting. Note: Article 48 is not part of the criminal code.

          • Really?

            We're going to do this?  You want to compare and contrast Nixon's obligations with regard to Watergate evidence to the Mass legislature's obligation to vote today?  Because, Steverino already has me re-segregating Georgia two posts above, and I only have time for so much.

            This is no longer constructive.  Honestly, I wish the vote had gone differently. Hopefully, next time around it will.

            • Hope

              is a thin thread to hang onto when you're locked out of your lifelong partner's deathbed.

              Process liberals played a critical role in achieving the result today. Without them, the civil rights of gays and lesbians would be safe tonight. Sorry, but we won't pretend otherwise.

              • Was that comedy?

                • No, it's not even funny

                  It is very difficult for self-aware gays and lesbians to approach this subject with the clinical objectivity that straights have the luxury of indulging. We're hurt more than anything. For us this isn't a debate about principle, it's about whether we continue to be stigmatized, demonized, and treated as inferiors. I'm a single gay man with no marriage plans but I went to bed with a migraine last night and couldn't sleep. I feel violated.

            • I didn't bring up Nixon,

              You did. And you can hope all you want, but based on what I've read today, the "yes" votes are still there. So the only question is, do you want this to go on the ballot or not?

  8. Question

    for those legal wonks out there. IF the leg. goes at it again and God forbid they get the 50 votes, what role does the Gov. have in it, ie, would he have a veto available to him?

  9. 2 cents

    First of all, thank-you Blue Mass Group for blogging the Con Con. With Bay windows going down this was the only way to follow what was happening.

    I'm not mad at the process liberals, though I disagree with them. I am mad at Massequality. It doesn't seem to me that they had any strategy at all going into this. It was like they were totally blindsided by everything.

    Mary http://momandmama.bl...

    • Don't Blame Mass Equality

      The pro-equality lobbying team did a terrific job. They did all they possibly could and then some, but one powerful man made it all for naught. Trav forced a vote to the shock and horror of the House Speaker. We couldn't win with Trav so determined to screw the gays over. Blame Trav, and oppose his reelection.

    • how can you tell?

      I see no reason to opine that MassEquality had no strategy, only that whatever strategy they had didn't work well enough.  The same could be said for the first vote on the Travaglini-Lees amendment - we lost that one too.  MassEquality had a strategy, and in the long term, they've succeeded more often than they've failed.  So why do you think they suddenly had none this time?  Any evidence?

  10. Travaglini vs. Patrick

    1) Travaglini rattles his sword prior to Patrick assuming office.

    2) Patrick comes out firmly in support of gay marriage two hours before the first vote.

    3) Patrick has a nearly one hour sitdown with Travaglini immediately prior to the first vote.

    4) Travaglini votes for, and actively campaigns and maneuvers for, a vote that is contrary to Patrick's wishes.

    Has the gauntlet been thrown this early?

    • 2 Possible explanations

      1) He could have thought it was his duty in light of the SJC ruling

      2) He might have wanted to keep a "bargaining chip" for future use during the next session with the incoming Governor.  No point in trading something for nothing.

      Take your pick.  I don't know the man's record or his character, so I'd prefer to believe explanation #1.

      • If he $quot;thought it was his duty,$quot;

        as you'd like to think, he failed spectacularly. The legislature under his leadership failed to vote on the HCA on the merits.

        So your choice seems to boil down to critical incompetence versus outright venality.

        • Exactly Right

          If we're to believe that he was heeding the supposed calls of the populous to "Let the People Vote!" and the ruling of the SJC defining final action without the confining context of affixing those to only the SSM issue, logic would follow that a vote would be taken on both issues. Failure to do so means that he either missed the giant neon sign that this would apply to the healthcare initiative, signaling incompetence; or a more calculated and sinister decision to vote on one while deep sixing the other, signaling: a) deciding to pander to the issue resulting in more calls to his office,  b) deciding to choose special and moneyed interests over the will of the people, c) deciding to "go upside the head" of Deval Patrick in an attempt to show him who wields the power, or d) any combination of the above.

          • and/or e) he's a bigot

            not saying he is, just saying he set himself up for the descriptor. again.

            • I don't think he is.

              And I know you're not saying he is, but I really don't think that if you got Trav alone and gave him the Truth Serum he'd have anything against marriage equality. I think his actions represent a politician at his/her worst, which is one that can step aside from principle and morality to appease bigots, line their pockets and/or settle a grudge.

              Which is to say that I guess Trav is not a bigot but a bigot-enabler.

              • not a bigot

                just plays one on tv?  could very well be.  i'll call him a facultative bigot.  that is, whether he's a bigot in his heart of hearts or not doesn't matter.  it's the outcome of his actions that do.  bigot is as senate prez does?

                • Constructive bigot?

                  Now there is a law-school worthy term for one.

                  • Trav is an opportunistic bigot

                    George Wallace ran for Governor as a racial moderate in the 50's and was whipped by a staunch segregationist. He famously vowed never to be "outn-----ed again" and the rest is history. He was never a racist true believer like Ross Barnett.

              • His amdenment

                Remember this? (from MassEquality site)

                Travaglini/Lees Amendment

                This Travaglini/Lees Amendment would have revoked equal marriage rights and instituted a system of civil unions for same-sex couples.

  11. Just an observation

    This morning, Isaacson said that she that there was head count. Then the pro gay legislators seemed completly caught off guard by the first vote. There just didn't appear to be any strategy at all.

    • no she didn't

      she said head count was uncertain bec legis had been away on vacation.  what's your beef with massequality.  or is it now with isaacson's lobby org?

  12. I just pointing out

    that all we had to do is make it to midnight. Being a "lets use procedure to kill this thing" kind of a girl - it didn't look like anyone had thought out a way to do that. This after bay windows and massequality had declared victory a few weeks ago.

    • time for debate

      i'm certainly not up on all the rules of order, but it seemd to me that the time for debate was not limitless.  first off, travaglini immediately opened the vote without debate when the session started.  can't fillibuster if there is not opportunity to do so.  as for fillibustering during the second vote, it appeared to me that there were tight time rules for any talk.  so my guess is that the way trav ran the show, fillibustering wasn't an option any longer.  but feel free to refute me with reference to actual rules and such.

    • Blame Trav

      There was nothing Arline could do after Trav determined he would force a vote. There was a strategy but the power of the chair is such Trav side-stepped of debate ordered an immediate vote. This is aimed at Patrick, and the gays were tossed about powerlessly.

      • If the legislators had

        denied a quorum, Trav could not have done anything at all. How could they not have seen this coming?

        • I don't think they had the bodies

          While there were 130+ legislators willing to vote no on the merits, far fewer would have been willing to adjourn or no-show. The SJC ruling saw to that.

          There were possible ways to finagle, but Trav put a quick stop to them. This was his show to run. period.

  13. A little gratitude...please

    I think we owe Mass Equality and Arline Isaacson a debt of gratitude and Travaligni a swift kick in the ass. He's the one who sold us down the river.

    • absolutely

      As stated above, MassEquality does a great job.  They shouldn;t be blamed for the bigotry of certain legislators.  There is just nothing they can do about that.  They deserve our ongoing support and thanks, as does Isaacson and the MGLPC.

  14. It looks like I critized a holy cow

    However, I would gladly give Travaligni a swift kick down the river.

  15. I don't know what Con Con your were following but....

    A friend of mine used to say that he liked being a liberal because he enjoyed argueing with people he agreed with. This is kind of how I am feeling now. However, I feel like I am pointing out the obvious. They were like ducks in a shooting gallery - or am I missing some super secret strategy that just wasn't immedialtely apparent?

  16. Not a $quot;process liberal$quot;, but...

    I am not one of the people who support gay marriage but also supported a vote being taken on it, but as a few others have mentioned above I think it is an exceedingly bad idea to bash those who are.

    First, when the SJC made their decision that the best recourse for voters to get the Legislature to respect their oath to vote was at the ballot box, they were right and this works both ways. Prisby is right, groundwork should be laid for good pro-equality candidates to run in every district lacking one.

    Second, it's just a really bad idea to bash those who support marriage equality because they wanted the Legislature to vote. Don't forget that if, God forbid, this ever goes to a popular vote, you'll need every one of them to still be on our side. And make no mistake, in the grand scheme they are on our side.

    The Legislature really disappointed me today. Thankfully, my representatives didn't (at least on the SSM issue, I'll have to check the Healthcare roll calls) but as a whole this group showed no principled commitment either way. They voted on SSM because the heat was on to do so. There was not as big a popular outcry for the HC amendment, so it died. For shame. But, this is the hand we've been dealt. Punch pillows or pull out your Trav dartboard tonight, but tomorrow it's time to plan and implement said plan to keep fighting. This is a long term war now, and we need to keep fighting in order to win. Leave the whining (and now the gloating) to them. Consider all of the above and let's be smart about this.

    Lastly, I do have a few small gripes with MassEquality as an email receiving, donating supporter: They declared victory too early. Anyone else get the "WE DID IT!!!" emails after the last ConCon session? Secondly, they pulled out expressed and official support for some of the final VOM event counter protests, or at least the one here in Worcester. We were told in the eleventh hour that there would be no official MassEquality representation at the event due to a "scheduling conflict". I call bullshit. You're a marriage equality organization, where the hell could all of your people be that no one could make it?!? I understand somewhat if Marc Solomon can't be there, but no one?!? Finally, there was no official statement to my knowledge about the assault that occurred in Worcester. Again, you're a marriage equality group and yet you have no opinion of a protester being assaulted by the head of Catholic Citizenship while holding on of your signs?

    Disappointing, overall. Very. Let's hope for better in the future, and let's work for it.

    • Vigil to Stop the Hate

      A vigil has been called in response to the violence perpetrated by Larry Cirignano, Executive Director of Catholic Citizenship against pro-marriage equality demonstrator Sarah Loy at the "Rally for Democracy" at Worcester City Hall on December 16, 2006

      A Candlelight Vigil Wednesday, January 10, 2007 6:30 PM, On the Boston Common At the Corner of Tremont and Boylston

      There will be a call to dialogue to anti-marriage activists as we seek to stop the hate and lower the volume of the bitter and divisive debate over the proposed ban on same-sex marriage. We seek to affirm peace, tolerance and mutual respect for all citizens of the Commonwealth. The tone will be respectful as we call for an end to the type of verbal and physical assaults that occurred in Worcester on December 16th.

      • I don't see how we can change the minds of religious freaks

        These people are not in favor of Democracy, they merely seek to legitimize their bigotry.  They use and misuse works of fiction, religious texts.  Why or how could I persuade these neanderthals.  I am not gay but I am part of the gay community.  Screw these people.  We don't want acceptance.  We want protection under the law.  Today in the South many whites still hate blacks but they still have to rent to them, sell them merchandise etc.  Because the law makes them do it.  I must say I am bitterly disappointed in these process people.  We'll see how good your process is when I have to visit my gay friends in the hospital after violence on gays increases due to this.

    • I think you should tell them this

      I agree with you, and think they need to hear what you have to say.

    • With regards to the first point

      Not to nitpick Rollbiz, but your first point is actually (unfortunately) irrelevant here.  Because of the vote today, there will be another vote in the next legislative session.  The election for the next session has obviously ocurred.  Therefore, by the time the next election comes around, the legislature will already have taken its second vote. 

      Perhaps the specter of a competitive election might force them to change their mind, but given that two legislative elections have now passed where equal marriage was an issue and they survived, I am not sure even that would work.

      • You are correct

        I agree about the level of effect this will have on the next ConCon, which is unfortunately none. However, a good fight is fought on multiple fronts. Fact is, for better or worse VOM won in getting this through ConCon Part I. While I hope this doesn't clear it's second ConCon, it may. It therefore stands to reason that while trying to kill it outright, we should prepare to fight it in other ways including both campaigning for and electing more pro-equality legislators and using their campaigns to attract marriage equality supporters to the polls in the event of a popular vote.

    • Oops

      where the hell could all of your people be that no one could make it?!?

      They were meeting to discuss disbanding MassEquality (second item).

  17. 2 more cents

    First, thanks also from me also to BMG for hosting these threads today.

    Second, I 100% agree with David that the leg did not do so on the health care amendment, so it died on the vine.  So they have -- no question -- violated their oaths of office.  I think there is simply no excuse for that. It's a legitimate question as to why it happened.

    Finally, since we will be dealing with this issue for a while (and I think that would have been true regardless of today's outcome), I personally hope to do so in a manner that shows respect for all.  Please call me on it if/when I screw up.


  18. The worst of all possible worlds...

    I had just come to grips with the belief that I could trade a chance for real healthcare reform in this state for the opportunity to avoid the "let the people hate gays" group run the most hateful campaign you've ever seen (and believe me if you liked the Kerry Healey ads, you'll absolutely love the filth these groups will pour into TV advertising).  But it looks like we get every fundamentalist "christian" in America sending their contribution to the fund in 2008 AND we get the portly Sen. Richard "Dinty" Moore's way on healthcare too.  Face it, the good guys got screwed today and the "values" issue trumps the policy issue.  Seems that Deval's politics of hope are off to a shakey start, and the insurance companies and hospitals win another round.  Why does the process always work for those guys anyway...think it has anything to do with campaign money? 

  19. WTF Webcasting?

    While I am still allowed to be in disgust mode*, what the hell happened with the webcast? Surely I am not the only person who wasn't able to bring the video up for even one second ALL DAY? Opting to webcast legislative sessions in place of televising them is a really bad idea. It restricts access to open, public governmental proceedings to those with the means and know-how to access them. But for Christ's sake, if you're going to do it, make it accessible! The inability to watch our representative government in action is perhaps the most serious recent development of all, in my opinion.

    *Disgust Mode is permitted until 12 midnight tonight. Some restrictions apply, see store for details.

    • Bring back televised sessions!

      Let the cable or networks bid for the privilege and PAY not be paid.

      TV has far greater accessibility then webcasting.


  20. Any of you want to dust off the articles of impeachment over health care?

  21. Roll Calls?

    Anyone know where we can get the roll calls for all the votes taken. I'm referring to both marriage votes, and the vote to leave the HCA in committee.

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