Thursday, December 28, 2006

MA Congress and Gay Marriage

First, let me say that I support gay marriage. I don't particularly care whether you call it marriage or not, but I understand the concern of religious folk that "marriage" be a term reserved for the male/female legal bond. But even for those states that have a Defense of Marriage law, I think that Vermont-style "civil unions" are the future. Plenty of public opinion polls show that those who oppose gay marriage largely oppose the use of the word, not the legal rights in confers. And let's face it, in terms of conversation, everyone is going to use the word marriage, because we all know what it means and it's a lot easier to say than "civil-unionized", and in 20 years or so the culture will call it marriage and the legal term will be somewhat moot.

However, more than supporting gay marriage, I support the constitution and its process. So the fact that the lawmakers in my fair state see fit to ignore their constitutional duties because it suits them really torques me.

The state’s highest court ruled Wednesday it had no authority to force lawmakers to vote on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, but it still criticized them for not acting.
The high court, in its ruling, rebuked lawmakers for that move, saying drafters of the provision that allows citizen petitions “did not intend a simple majority of the joint session to have the power effectively to block progress of an initiative.”

That much seems clear. There is a process for the public to get amendments on the ballot, and it should be followed, not side-stepped.

The court goes on to say:

“Those members who now seek to avoid their lawful obligations, by a vote to recess without a roll call vote ... ultimately will have to answer to the people who elected them,” the court said.

Ah, well, there's a dream. In a reasonable state, yes, the lawmakers would be held accountable by the people in the very next election. But this is Massachusetts, home of the knee-jerk liberal, where people vote Democrat because they are physically incapable of doing anything else. The state where the public voted to force the lawmakers to roll-back the "temporary" tax hike, the lawmakers ignore the will of the people, and they STILL got reelected. So when they ignore their constitutional duties on Jan 2, I don't really expect there will be any political repercussions. It would be nice if I'm wrong, but I strongly suspect that everyone east of Rt 495 is brain dead. The irony is that if George Bush did something like this, he'd be villified by the very people who will consider our lawmakers heroes for thwarting the constitution. But there's no need for intellectual thought when you're morally righteous, is there?

This state is a fine example of what happens when any one party remains in control for too long.

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