Dispatches from the Creation Wars

After all the hullaballoo over whether the legislature had to vote on the gay marriage ban proposal, they finally did so today and it passed. In this context “passed” only requires 25% of the votes, so that’s not a shock; the final vote was 132-64 against it, enough to put it on the ballot in 2008 for a statewide vote. Though it takes relatively few voters to put an issue on the ballot, public opinion on the proposal in Massachusetts has been pretty favorable to gay marriage. Hopefully this proposal will go down to defeat.

Comments

  1. #1 John
    January 2, 2007

    “enough to put it on the ballot in 2008 for a statewide vote.”

    Not so fast; the measure must be voted on again at next years Constitutional convention. If it gets 50 next year, then it will go on the ballot.

    The rule is to get to the ballot it must pass two consecutive constitutional conventions. This is only one

  2. #2 Ed Brayton
    January 2, 2007

    Oh, I thought this was the second vote already. Oops, my mistake.

  3. #3 Tulle
    January 2, 2007

    This makes me happy. They did their duty. So, what argument will the right use when in Massachusetts the state Supreme Court, the state legislature, and the voters say gay marriage is ok? That is something I want to hear. I’m sure it will be good for a laugh.

  4. #4 Matthew
    January 2, 2007

    Tulie: We’ll get to see them back peddle on their “state’s rights” argument. On the one hand, I want to laugh when that happens. On the other, individual rights shouldn’t be subject to majority approval.

  5. #5 John
    January 2, 2007

    “They did their duty”

    They did not. They may have done their duty on this particular initiative, but the adjourned without voting on the healthcare amendment. The health care amendment would have enshrinrd healthcare as a fundamental right. That amendment passed last year and would then have gone to the ballot.

    I don’t support the healthcare amendment, but they are just as obligated to vote on that amendment as the gay marriage amendment.

  6. #6 kehrsam
    January 2, 2007

    I’ve been arguing all along that a popular vote is the best possible outcome. As long as the right is based on a judicial opinion 1) it will be opposed as “activist judging” and 2) be at the mercy of a fresh judicial opinion. Recognition of SSM is still going to be a long haul, but this is exactly the step that needs to be taken.

    The other state in play this year is California. I’m actually rooting against the CA SCt finding the right to SSM in the state’s Constitution, on the grounds that this will force the legislature’s hand. Not that I’ll cry if the Court acts. We’ll see.

  7. #7 John
    January 2, 2007

    kersham,

    If the California legislature were to legalize SSM, would not the court have to rule the legislation unconstitutional?

    In California it is unconstitutional for the legislature to overrule an initiative petition, and the people have already voted to ban SSM.

    To change that would require another initiative petetion, no?

  8. #8 kehrsam
    January 2, 2007

    John,

    I never practiced law in California, so I didn’t know about the initiative petition thing. In that case, the lege needs to propose a Constitutional amendment for a statewide vote. I appreciate the correction. Cheers!

  9. #9 Coin
    January 2, 2007

    Though it takes relatively few voters to put an issue on the ballot, public opinion on the proposal in Massachusetts has been pretty favorable to gay marriage. Hopefully this proposal will go down to defeat.

    A lot of these kinds of proposals are valuable to the people who push them regardless of whether they pass or fail, because they inspire certain kinds of voters to turn out in large numbers to vote for the initiative, and while they’re there they invariably wind up voting for a certain kind of candidate.

    Of course, in Massachusetts where the gay marriage decision is actually popular, I almost wonder if this might turn out to work as much in favor of the pro- gay marriage side as the anti-.

    In California it is unconstitutional for the legislature to overrule an initiative petition, and the people have already voted to ban SSM.

    The legislature already did vote to approve SSM, though, didn’t they? Just Schwarzenegger vetoed it? What would have happened if Schwarzenegger had signed that bill?

  10. #10 Tulle
    January 2, 2007

    Sorry John, I only ment it in the narrow sense on this issue. I live in Florida and don’t know what other things they left undone. Usually most state legislatures do leave their work unfinished. Nearly everyone else would be fired if they did a job as bad as legislatures do.

  11. #11 John
    January 2, 2007

    Cin

    “What would have happened if Schwarzenegger had signed that bill?”

    I wish we had had the chance to find out.

    Tulle,

    The reason I flip out over what the legislature did today is because I am comfortable with the legislature using parliamentary procedure to avoid voting on the merits. After all, like it or not, it is part of our system.

    But the anti-SSM crowd went to court and the SJC ruled they have a duty to vote. Based on that decision, they voted on the SSM amendment, but they are still in violation of the constitution when they ignored the Health Care amendment.

    As a Massachusetts citizen, I’m pissed.

  12. #12 Chet Lemon
    January 2, 2007

    “The legislature already did vote to approve SSM, though, didn’t they?”

    Doesn’t matter. Prop 22 was passed in 2000 with nearly 2/3 of the vote and citizens’ initiatives cannot be overtruned by the legislature. The bill put forth by Assemblyman Leno was in violation of the CA constitution.

    “So, what argument will the right use when in Massachusetts the state Supreme Court, the state legislature, and the voters say gay marriage is ok? That is something I want to hear.”

    As long as such a policy is adopted in accordance with the law and the state constitution, there should be no argument. You ask what the “right” would do, but it is not the “right” that has been wiping its rear end with the law in order to impose an agenda, that has all been done by the Left. I for one, as a memebr of the “right” wouldn’t like such an outcome, but would accept it. The same cannot be said for advocates of imposing SSM. MA is the perfect example. The “right” met every applicable requirement in accordance with the state constitution, yet the Left pulled out all the clown paint in order to subvert the law, including intimidation of those “radicals” who’d prefer to keep the marriage status quo (Knowthyneighbor.org), illegitimate legal challenges and the inaction of the rouge legislature. If the only way to win is to use strong arm tactics and break the law, how legitimate is the cause?

  13. #13 Ed Brayton
    January 2, 2007

    Though I agree that if the legislature had failed to vote on it, that would have been a violation of their duty, they did vote on it. The voters will likely get the chance to vote on it in 2008. And I predict it will lose. I certainly hope it does. And the behavior of those who advocate a position has little to do with the truth or validity of their position. The behavior of suicide bombers has no bearing on whether abortion should be legal, for example. And Lincoln’s unconstitutional behavior in the Civil War, while a very bad thing, does not invalidate the cause he was advocating.

  14. #14 efexor21
    January 3, 2007

    This is bullshit, another victory for those people. The only positive point is that my Gay marriage-stocks are up 20% today http://www.trendio.com/word.php?language=en&wordid=2299

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