MassEquality public meetings

MassEquality is doing a very smart thing: they’re holding a series of community meetings to talk about marriage equality.  From the announcement:

These forums are a great opportunity for you, your family members and friends to meet with other supporters of equality in your area and have some back-and-forth to address your questions, concerns and ideas for moving forward.

There was a meeting in Worcester last night — apologies for not posting on that one in time.  The Boston meeting is tonight at 6:30, at St. Paul’s Cathedral, 138 Tremont St. (across from the Park Street T stop).  Here’s the full schedule of meetings:

Boston: Wednesday, Jan. 17, 6:30 pm

Springfield: Thursday, Jan. 18, 6 pm

Northampton: Thursday, Jan. 18, 8 pm

North Andover: Monday, Jan. 22, 7 pm

Arlington: Tuesday, Jan. 23, 7 pm

Hingham: Wednesday, Jan. 24, 7 pm

Lowell: Thursday, Jan. 25, 7 pm

Provincetown: Monday, Jan. 29, 6:30 pm

New Bedford: TBA

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15 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Anyone go tonight?

    Anyone go to the meeting tonight in Boston?  Any action items to report?

    • me too

      I'm interested to hear about it too.  Btw, these meetings are a good place to start for people living in districts with solid pro-equality representation.  There is a lot you can do in neighboring districts (friendly nudge :)

  2. SSM breathes life into Canadian marriage rates

    Slightly off topic, but not too far - the 2003 Canadian marriage stats are in.  The only provinces without declining marriage rates were Ontario and British Columbia, the ones where SSM was legal at the time.  So, SSM appears to be breathing some life into otherwise static marriage rates in Canada.  President Bush will be envious.  Source here.

  3. Any feedback

    from the Worcester meeting, yet?

    No publicity here, but that's to be expected without a major news media outlet.

  4. What is effect on Social Security?

    Do we have the financial information yet as to the effect of same sex mariage on social security benefits.

    Married couples and even divorced couples get benefits ( if they had been marriaed long enough) get SS benefits.

    I guess this is to provide for a parent with school age children. 

    what will be the effect on Social security. I think you need to provide this information.

    • 5:20 a.m. is a little early

      to start drinking.

    • Social Security is federal

      And as a result of DOMA and other federal laws, SSM in MA will have no effect on SS, since same sex married partners won't be eligible for spousal SS benefits.

      If you're worried about long term SS... don't.  It'll be decades before SSM is recognized on the federal level, and SS may look quite different by then anyway.

    • None

      As said, state marriage does not carry federal implications because of DOMA.

      I would speculate that the "risks" to Social Security are minimal anyway because most same-sex couples are double-income by necessity and so there's a small number of people who would fall into the widowed housewife category of drawing benefits from the late husband's work record. And the total numbers are a rounding error on the national total, anyway.

      This seems like a weird way to approach the problem as we are talking about treating a small minority of people according to the same rules as everyone else. Similarly, conservatives talk about SSM as a budget-buster for companies because now gay spouses get added to the insurance rolls. Well, is it so much better to keep them in the uninsured free care pool? We exist and have needs and pay taxes as it is, whether or not we're recognized. Giving us the same benefits that straight people currently enjoy shouldn't be seen as a weird or negative policy effect unless you disagree with the benefit in the first place.

      • Also

        Why should it have anything to do with school-age children? The vast majority of widows drawing on their husband's social security benefits are in their senior years and don't have school age children. It's only about supporting themselves in retirement.

        • the effect on social security needs to be discussed

          Because a good percentage of people who receive benefits are actuallly disabled people ( by accident not birth although birth disability is part of it) and that includes everyone.

          I think americans want to know the answers to these questions

          • Social Security

            What are you talking about. Equal marriage is a state issue at this point not a federal issue.

            • why?

              how can a marriage that is not recognized by the country or most other states be considered "equal?"  Are equal benefits and protections important or not? 

              If a person can just move out of state and not be married anymore, how married are they?  If the government of their country considers them legal strangers, how married are they?

              Actual couples are hurt by this, they will not get federal social security survivor benefits, they do not have security that their spouse is legally committed to them and would have to legally dissolve their partnership in court to settle financial and property issues.  They can be abandoned because their marriage is meaningless in other states.

              Because of your insistence on the word "marriage" and giving marriage's conception rights to same-sex couples, it is very unlikely that this situation will change.  Your position harms  people in same-sex committed relationships across the country and does not gain them anything in return.

              BMG could change this, it could promote my egg and sperm compromise which would grant federal recognition of state civil unions in exchange for conceding that same-sex couples should not have marriage's conception rights.  Civil unions that did not grant marriage's conception rights could be enacted in all fifty states and given full faith and credit, requiring dissolution.  Alternatively, BMG could be a typical blog where people prefer to stubbornly argue.

          • Ok, then

            You're welcome to begin the discussion, as this is a matter of concern to you.

            I'll throw this out: the number of people who will become newly eligible for SSI benefits as a result of SSM, should the federal government choose to recognize SSM, is negligeable and will have a tiny effect on the overall budget of the program.

            Secondly, the change in policy would accomplish the positive goal of treating disabled or parentless dependents of SSM'd individuals the same as those of OSM's individuals. Equality of this level serves a social good independent of any arguments about gay marriage, and as such, it's incomplete to discuss this benefit only in terms of costs.

            What is your response? Feel free to cite statistics about how this would be a serious factor affecting the solvency of Social Security.

  5. i went to the boston meeting last night...

    marc solomon discussed what happenned and a general view of their strategy for the next concon.  he expressed optimism for the next concon, especially emphasizing his excitement about deval patrick, but also acknowledged how much work lies ahead, and that there is a chance that we may not get the votes that we need.

    it was sort of like i thought it would be.  kind of interesting, but it felt a lot like we were preaching to the choir.  a few people had interesting thoughts to share, while others were very fired up but without any sort of real knowledge of political strategy, just ideas that they wanted to engage in and share.

    i dont know how productive it was, but it did get me thinking enough to write a long letter to marc solomon, head of MassEquality, this morning.  so perhaps something useful will come of it.

    i definitely think that other thread about ways to use the majority to our advantage should be emailed to MassEquality AND given directly to someone at a town meeting.  several people at the meeting started talking by saying that they had emailed the staff of MassEquality and never gotten a response.

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