Friday, February 17, 2006

A Short History

In 2001, concerned citizens of Massachusetts collected 130,000 signatures backing a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Yet then-Senate President Tom Birmingham closed the 2002 constitutional convention without allowing a vote to put the amendment on the statewide ballot. This was the first instance where the people of the Commonwealth were not able to voice their vote on such a vital cultural issue.
In November of 2003, the Supreme Judicial Court, by a vote of 4-3, with Justice Margaret Marshall, author of the ruling mandating same-sex marriage, as the tie breaking vote, ruled in Goodridge v. Dep't of Public Health that same-sex couples can obtain marriage licenses, starting in May of 2004. This marked the second time the people of the Commonwealth were denied a chance to voice their vote on their cultural values.
Rep. Phil Travis (D-Rehoboth) filed the Marriage Affirmation & Protection Amendment late in 2003. During the 2004 constitutional convention, the Legislature hijacked Rep. Travis's amendment, adding a requirement creating same-sex civil unions equal to marriage. This version, the Travaglini-Lees Amendment, was given initial approval by a vote of 105-92, with many legislators supporting it as a last ditch effort to delay the implementation of the SJC ruling. As expected state legislators overwhelmingly voted down the proposed Travaglini-Lees amendment by a vote of 157-39 at the Constitutional Convention on Sept. 14. Though originally proposed as a compromise measure, the Travaglini-Lees amendment failed to satisfy either gay-rights or traditional marriage supporters.
Despite legal appeals, the Goodridge ruling was not delayed, and the state started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on May 17, 2004.
After extensive planning and careful research, VoteOnMarriage.org was created and a new amendment was announced in June of 2005. On December 7th, 2005 VoteOnMarriage.org announced the completion of the most successful ballot initiative campaign in Massachusetts history with the collection of 170,000 signatures. After Secretary Galvin certified 123,000 plus signatures, the new amendment must now receive 50 votes in two successive legislatures beginning this May before being placed on the ballot in the fall of 2008.

The people of the Commonwealth were twice denied a right to vote on traditional marriage. Once by then-Senate President Birmingham in 2001 and by Justice Marshall in 2003. I begin this debate by asking a question of what is so wrong with having voters voicing their vote on this issue? What are proponets of same-sex marriage so scared of?

2 Comments:

Blogger FreeThinker said...

What's so wrong with having voters voice their opinion on this issue?

It's waste of resources, but mostly because it's pointless and un-American. Should voters voice their opinion on interracial marriage? Slavery? Same concerns.

What are proponets of same-sex marriage so scared of?

That our Constitutional rights, and basic fairness amd equality, will be compromised.

6:08 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger SCIA said...

How is it un-American to voice a vote on a cultural issue? A sacred tradition that has been set in place for 5000 years should have the chance to be voted on. Interracial marriage and slavery were fought and voiced upon by the people during the Civil Rights movement. As a result these concerns went into the lawbooks as legal and illegal respectively. your argument is irrelivent and highly refutable.

As for your "Constitutional rights and basic fairness and equality". No where in the Constitution does it say homosexuality or choices are a fundamental right. Homosexuality is a choice not a right. We all need to stop declassifying a subgroup of people (homosexual community) to a status of a minority.

Thank-you Freethinker for your comments but they do not have one leg to stand on.

9:38 PM, February 18, 2006  

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