So, there’s a lot of blame flying around here about who “lost” the gay marriage and health care votes yesterday: Hey, you can blame MassEquality for not having their votes whipped correctly; maybe it was the “process liberals”* at BMG. Blame them or us if you want, but berating your friends won’t get you anywhere. After all, if we were the puppetmasters, the anti-marriage amendment would have gone down and we’d have a health care amendment.
No, the legislators are to blame, chief among them Senate President Travaglini, who allowed the anti-marriage amendment to come up (correct, we think); voted for it (dead wrong); and then had the health care amendment killed without a vote, which is the worst of hypocrisy. It has been rumored that Travaglini is set to retire soon; that can’t come a minute too soon. Actually, he should resign immediately. Between his siding against working people in last year’s health care negotiations; his lack of personal self-control and hostility for a governor who hasn’t even taken office yet; his contempt for his gay and lesbian consituents; and his utter contempt for his oath of office, he is creating a dismal legacy for himself.
Who else? How about blaming guys like my Rep, Paul Donato of Medford, who voted to put the rights of married people up to a vote? Rep. Donato, that’s a disgrace, and a real incentive for us to find and support a pro-marriage primary challenger. (I’m waiting to find out about how he voted on the health care amendment — anyone find this info?) UPDATE: Donato is a hypocrite: Voted yes on “Let the people vote”, no on letting the health care amendment see the light of day.
Have we “learned a lesson”? Yes, but it didn’t have much to do with the arguments flying back and forth here, i.e. “process” vs. “substance”. Human beings are protected by laws, including the laws that have been interpreted to allow same-sex marriage in MA. We think that a legitimate, lawful outcome of the constitutional process would have sealed those rights forever, thus creating a real precedent for honest-to-goodness legislative approval of same-sex marriage beyond Massachusetts, no ifs, ands, or buts.
But the snuffing of the health care amendment shows us that constitutional process simply does not exist in current practice. It is a Kremlin-style charade that mocks the rule of law and the oaths of all legislators. So I will say this: If you told us, “Hey, the ConCon is a sham, every bit as fixed as pro wrestling, so you might as well take what you want and move on,” maybe you were right. I don’t remember hearing it put exactly that way, but there it is.
We don’t have a lawful constitutional amendment process, since it is so easily and willfully abused by our legislators. Maybe that’s what you were trying to tell us — although that’s not what I heard.
In any event, it’s time to take the fight — using whatever means we have, persuasive and coercive, right to the Scurrilous Sixty-Two. It is on.
*BTW, is there any less felicitous turn of phrase than “process liberal”? Sounds like something you find in the cheese aisle of the supermarket: “Process liberal cheese food product”. No. I am a liberal who thinks lawmakers should follow the law when making law.