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Gay-OK in MA
June 14, 2007 6:38 PM   Subscribe

Massachusetts will retain gay marriage. For now. The initiative petition which sought to amend the Massachusetts constitution to ban gay marriage (thereby revoking the decision of the Supreme Judicial Court in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health) will not appear on the ballot. The petition needed the votes of fifty legislators in two consecutive constitutional conventions to proceed; my representative was one of the nine house members who changed their votes from the last time. Thank you, Jim.
posted by yhbc (102 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I would like to think that the following email my wife and I sent a few days ago had even a little to do with the result -
Dear Representative Vallee,

We urge you to vote against putting gay marriage on the ballot. Marriage is a civil rights issue that we do not feel should be put to a popular vote. It would be just as wrong to put a question legalizing race-based discrimination on the ballot as any question legalizing discrimination based on sexual orientation. The voting in either case would be based on either religious beliefs which have nothing to do with civil rights, or out of misguided bigotry and fear.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter, and for your many years of hard and effective work on behalf of all the residents of your legislative district.

Sincerely,

Phil and Chris Evans
At this moment, I am very pleased that I live in a Commonwealth that both respects individual rights as well as the legal process.
posted by yhbc at 6:41 PM on June 14, 2007 [8 favorites]


Go Massachusetts. I hope it lasts.
posted by danb at 6:44 PM on June 14, 2007


For those of us who find this important, it's good politics to send thank you mails to the representatives as well.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 6:44 PM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wonder, if we'd put mixed-race marriage or desegregation to a public vote, how would the civil rights era have turned out?
posted by mullingitover at 6:45 PM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


er, public=popular
posted by mullingitover at 6:45 PM on June 14, 2007


The coverage is better in the Boston Globe, but you have to register there.

JKF, I sent Rep. Vallee an email thanking him for his vote and congratulating him on his courage before I made this post.
posted by yhbc at 6:49 PM on June 14, 2007


I was really happy with the result of these maneuverings but sad those of us who support gay marriage here in MA can't with utter confidence just say "yeah, ok, let's put it to a vote."
posted by psmith at 6:50 PM on June 14, 2007


Oh, I was directing that to everyone, yhbc :-)
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 6:51 PM on June 14, 2007


For now.

Very likely, for good. I don't think a lot of people realize how significant this is. The earliest the bigots can even try to do this again in Mass. is in five years. By that point, it'll have been 7 or 8 years of the earth NOT having collapsed into utter chaos because two people who love each other can get hitched. The majority hated interracial dating, too. Then they watched how nothing happened.

I wonder, if we'd put mixed-race marriage or desegregation to a public vote, how would the civil rights era have turned out?

I for one wonder where all the "the U.S. isn't a Democracy, it's a Republic!" dickheads went. They seem to vanish whenever they feel mob rule would have been a better way for them to get what they want.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:51 PM on June 14, 2007


"yeah, ok, let's put it to a vote."

thing is, voting to restrict someone else's civil rights is ~waaay~ too easy. Plus there's that whole 'teh gay is Satan's present weapon of choice to corrupt this formerly Christian society' viewpoint that is so flat-out bonkers that it makes me ashamed I share a nationality with these pinheads.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:55 PM on June 14, 2007


Heywood Mogroot:

I understand the tyranny of the majority. I was just saying I look forward to the day when the majority is on the side of decency for this issue.
posted by psmith at 6:57 PM on June 14, 2007


By that point, it'll have been 7 or 8 years of the earth NOT having collapsed into utter chaos because two people who love each other can get hitched.

I think having had a couple years of this means that support for re-banning gay marriage has seriously waned in MA. I haven't heard a single peep about any negative effects of the SJC ruling... the people protesting today's vote sound like a bunch of tired old cranks going on about how the court ruling wasn't democratic, and the legislative vote wasn't democratic, and how all the legislators were bribed, etc, etc. The whole "debate" as seen on the national level (i.e. "this will destroy our traditions and straights will feel marginalized") has entirely evaporated ever since the SJC ruling happened and people just got on with their lives.

I typically try to evaluate social policy on a cost/benefit basis, and allowing gay marriage is essentially a cost-free change that benefits more than a few people. Everyone will realize this eventually, given the time to experience it first-hand.
posted by rxrfrx at 6:59 PM on June 14, 2007


We were watching it on live feed from the auditorium in the Statehouse. When they flashed up the final vote of the house members, there was a very brief pause as everyone did some mental arithmetic and of disbelief as well.

Then the place went nuts. For well over five minutes people clapped, shouted, wept and screamed for joy. It was amazing.
posted by MasonDixon at 6:59 PM on June 14, 2007


Yay Massachusetts! This news makes this former Bostonian (well, Brookline-ian, and Northamptonian) very happy.
posted by rtha at 7:00 PM on June 14, 2007


Careful, this thread may be labeled "gaytastic".

Yay!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:01 PM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hey Mitt Romney - Eff You!

Another reason to be proud to live in Massachusetts.
posted by waitingtoderail at 7:02 PM on June 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


gay marriage is essentially a cost-free change that benefits more than a few people

there are potential pitfalls present . . . expanding the definition of domestic partnerships such that people can game the system more, loss of age-old Cultural Traditions that conservatives by definition hold dear.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:15 PM on June 14, 2007


expanding the definition of domestic partnerships such that people can game the system more

This happens already. I could marry a lesbian for the tax breaks. We'd never sleep together or procreate, but we could "game the system" without breaking any laws.

loss of age-old Cultural Traditions that conservatives by definition hold dear

Sounds like that age-old tradition includes a 50% divorce rate.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:21 PM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I saw this in the news today and it made me happy. It's seemly rarer and rarer that I see stuff that makes me smile in the news rather than get tense and angry.

Yay Massachusetts, alright, who's next? :)
posted by ugf at 7:24 PM on June 14, 2007


Good for Massachusetts leading the way.
posted by nola at 7:26 PM on June 14, 2007


Sounds like that age-old tradition includes a 50% divorce rate.

Not in Massachusetts, which has the lowest divorce rate in the nation.
posted by waitingtoderail at 7:42 PM on June 14, 2007


Great news about Mass--even when we win, we always have to watch out for losing whatever we gain.

NJ and Connecticut have some challenges pending to their Civil Unions due to the inherently unfair and unequal status...we'll see.

And Spitzer has vowed to do something here in NY, but our State Senate sucks.

The State of Our Unions-- a roundup
posted by amberglow at 7:44 PM on June 14, 2007


I wonder, if we'd put mixed-race marriage or desegregation to a public vote, how would the civil rights era have turned out?

...In 1948, when California became the first state to strike down a ban on interracial marriage, nine out of 10 Americans opposed such unions. ...
posted by amberglow at 7:47 PM on June 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


More: A bit of perspective....-- ...- In 1948, about 90% of American Adults opposed interracial marriage when the Supreme Court of California legalized it.
- In 1967, about 72% were opposed to interracial marriage when it was legalized everywhere in the U.S. by the Supreme Court in 1967.
-In 1991, those adults opposed to interracial marriage became a minority. ...

posted by amberglow at 7:49 PM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


In the fourth year of my gay marriage (and 12th year of our relationship) and loving it.
posted by digaman at 7:53 PM on June 14, 2007 [7 favorites]


I'd add too, that the opposition to interracial marriage when the Supreme Ct decided it in 67 was much higher than opposition to same-sex marriage is now.

From there: ... The Gallup Organization asked "Do you think marriages between homosexuals should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages?" They reported opposition at:
... 58% in 2006-MAY. ...

posted by amberglow at 7:53 PM on June 14, 2007


I could marry a lesbian for the tax breaks

just sayin' that in the general case there is a potential can of worms here -- the law of unintended consequences -- as people are programmed, and can be counted on, to work/abuse the system. By creating a gold-standard domestic partnership outside the bounds of trad household marriage partners, weird things might result. IIRC some European countries have the laws on the books so learning from their experiences would be beneficial.

Which reminds me, this is an excellent demonstration of how Federalism is supposed to work -- States experimenting. If something works better than the status quo, we can all slipstream behind the pioneers. If not, 'too bad so sad', but the damage is theoretically localized. I believe the second Pirsig talked about this Dynamic Quality aspect a bit.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:55 PM on June 14, 2007 [4 favorites]


In 1991, those adults opposed to interracial marriage became a minority

no doubt largely by doing us all the favor of "shuffling off" . . .
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:57 PM on June 14, 2007


Gay City News has a great article on this latest victory in Mass:
... But with some new, pro-gay legislators elected last November, the grassroots drive that MassEquality has shown consistently, and a growing sense in Massachusetts that it is time to move beyond this divisive issue, protectors of gay marriage were able to prevail this week.

This was the second time that MassEquality had beaten back an effort to overturn the 2003 court ruling. ...


"Protecting marriage" -- it sounds so different when not about restricting it and banning it for some. : >
posted by amberglow at 8:00 PM on June 14, 2007


Goddamn activist judges legislators in Massachusetts!
posted by ericb at 8:01 PM on June 14, 2007


Heywood, there's an Adam Sandler movie coming out really soon about 2 guys who pretend they're gay to get Domestic Partnership and the attendant insurance coverage or something.
posted by amberglow at 8:02 PM on June 14, 2007


BTW -- The trend is heading in the right direction --

American Support of Gays Up Significantly
"American acceptance of gay rights is at its highest level in 30 years, according to a national poll released Tuesday.

A Gallup Poll shows that 59 percent of Americans believe that 'homosexual relations between consenting adults' should be legal.

...Support for same-sex marriage also rose to an all-time high. Though supporters are still the minority, 46 percent of respondents believe marriages between same-sex couples should be legally validated.

The most support comes in relation to equality in the workplace, with 89 percent believing that gays 'should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities.'"
"And time is definitely on our side...
Among those 18-34 years of age, 75% say it’s acceptable while 23% do not.

Among those aged 35-54, it’s still 58% acceptable; 39% not.

You have to go to the 55+ age group to find a majority disapproving, and even there the level of acceptance is quite high (45% acceptable; 51% not)."*
posted by ericb at 8:08 PM on June 14, 2007


Heywood, there's an Adam Sandler movie coming out really soon about 2 guys who pretend they're gay to get Domestic Partnership and the attendant insurance coverage or something.

"I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry."
posted by ericb at 8:10 PM on June 14, 2007


Adam Sandler's Gay Robot As Animated Film?
posted by ericb at 8:11 PM on June 14, 2007


I wonder about the polls--the state Amendments passed overwhelmingly in almost every single state, with support far greater than these polls would indicate. Is it that people who support us are not voting?

It's up to the Supremes, and this current batch does not make me hopeful. The State Amendments will need all new state Amendments to be abolished i believe--unless the Supremes rule for us someday.
posted by amberglow at 8:12 PM on June 14, 2007


How will gay marriage play?
"Today's vote by the Massachusetts Legislature to reject a proposed gay marriage ban will likely cause some ripples in the presidential race. The candidate with the most at stake is likely Mitt Romney, who fought hard for the ban. Romney today is already reaffirming his call for a federal gay marriage ban. In the past, Romney has called rival John McCain ‘disingenuous’ for opposing gay marriage but also opposing a federal ban. Will we see more of that rhetoric now?

Here's Romney's full statement today: ‘Today's vote by the State Legislature is a regrettable setback in our efforts to defend traditional marriage. Unfortunately, our elected representatives decided that the voice of the people did not need to be heard in this debate. It is now even more important that we pass a Constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage. Marriage is an institution that goes to the heart of our society, and our leaders can no longer abdicate their responsibility.’

UPDATE: McCain's campaign just put out a statement taking aim at Romney for having opposed a different proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage in 2002, though that proposed amendment went further than this one, seeking to ban not just same-sex weddings but domestic-partner benefits as well.

‘In typical Mitt Romney fashion, the former Massachusetts governor was against a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage before he was for it,’ McCain spokesman Danny Diaz said in the statement. ‘Romney continues to prove that he is someone that will say and do anything in pursuit of the nomination.’

Abortion, immigration, gay marriage -- what's next, McCain and Romney duking it out over the final episode of ‘The Sopranos?’"
posted by ericb at 8:23 PM on June 14, 2007


I work in the MA State House. I was thinking of making a post throughout the day and decided against it because it's too hard to step back and collect myself to explain what the day was like. I walked to work with hundreds of protestors on each side of the street (and correspondingly on each side of the issue). I took my lunch outside to hear the chants (although it's not like I couldn't hear them at my desk). It was hard to focus before the concon. When the lawmakers went in, I don't know how many people legitimately knew for sure if a vote would be taken at all or if the leadership had gotten the switches they needed. I got to sneak up quite close to the chambers with my badge and stand with my office as we held out breaths, offically nonpolitical and so unofficially excited and nervous.

A cheer went up and then the disbelief turned into amazement. It's not just that over 3/4 of the elected officials of Massachusetts support Gay Marriage, it was the sheer triumphalism of a solitary state willing to put its values on the line and stand together. And when Deval praised the losing side, telling people that they had prayed to the same God to stand by values that they held dear knowing they'd be in the minority, you saw a future for this place. The legislature came and stood on the grand staircase and they received a long ovation from a gathered crowd, who began to chant "thank you." People were thanking their legislators for doing the right thing. It's sad to live in a country where that's rare but it's fucking amazing to live in Massachusetts.

Go Sox.
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:24 PM on June 14, 2007 [14 favorites]


The amazing thing to me is that the opponents of gay marriage could not even get 25% of the legislature to support their amendment. That's an amazingly low threshold, and they couldn't get it. It just shows how unremarkable gay marriage is.

My brother just visit MA from Seattle. He got to the hotel first and told the person at registration, "my husband will be arriving later. Can you leave a key for him?" The person at registration didn't bat an eye. It was such a rush for him, seeing how quickly a new world can take shape.
posted by alms at 8:26 PM on June 14, 2007


How will gay marriage play?

Who cares, so long as the GOP continues to devour its own tail and disappears into the aether.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:31 PM on June 14, 2007


People were thanking their legislators for doing the right thing. It's sad to live in a country where that's rare but it's fucking amazing to live in Massachusetts.

Totally. How cool it would be to have been there. : >

Bigshots in the religious right have all come out and explicitly stated they won't go for Rudy. Have they done that for McCain or Romney?
posted by amberglow at 8:34 PM on June 14, 2007


Heywood, there's an Adam Sandler movie coming out really soon about 2 guys who pretend they're gay to get Domestic Partnership and the attendant insurance coverage or something.

And then, one night, while fishing off the dock at sunset and talking about....
posted by longsleeves at 8:45 PM on June 14, 2007


Yay MA.
posted by edgeways at 8:48 PM on June 14, 2007


thing is, voting to restrict someone else's civil rights is ~waaay~ too easy. Plus there's that whole 'teh gay is Satan's present weapon of choice to corrupt this formerly Christian society' viewpoint that is so flat-out bonkers that it makes me ashamed I share a nationality with these pinheads.

Well, in this country, we vote on issues. Even important issues. If that's a problem for you, maybe you should find yourself an enlightened autocracy somewhere.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 8:49 PM on June 14, 2007


Oh my gosh, digaman, has it been four years?? Best to you and Keith for many many more!
posted by Kat Allison at 8:55 PM on June 14, 2007


Well, in this country, we vote on issues.

No, in the United States of America, our Constitution protects our right to vote for representatives.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:58 PM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


No, in the United States of America, our Constitution protects our right to vote for representatives.

Thank you for your valuable contribution.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:01 PM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wrong finger, maybe.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:03 PM on June 14, 2007


Any other civics class tidbits you care to shoot our way?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:04 PM on June 14, 2007


No, thanks, I'll let you get through the coursework for yourself.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:07 PM on June 14, 2007


Here's one more for you--the Legislative Division writes and enacts laws, and the Judicial Division delineates, restricts and/or expands, and interprets and enforces all of them--and determines the Constitutionality of those laws and whether rights are being unfairly denied or awarded to citizens and whether what Congress and states, localities, and other officials have done is illegal or unConstitutional or not. No legislature has that power. If equality is one of those rights, then marriage needs to be non-discriminatory.
posted by amberglow at 9:11 PM on June 14, 2007


People and their reps create, and Judges and Courts interpret or kill or expand/restrict, etc. One Supreme Court decision has the power to abolish whole groups of laws (like all the anti-sodomy or miscegenation laws) and any State Amendments. It's only Federal Amendments that are immune to their decisions i think. (someone correct me if i have that wrong)
posted by amberglow at 9:19 PM on June 14, 2007


No, thanks, I'll let you get through the coursework for yourself.

Ah, got it. That's must've been all you know, and that's why you trot it out at irrelevant moments.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:19 PM on June 14, 2007


this wiki is not bad on separation of powers
posted by amberglow at 9:19 PM on June 14, 2007


amberglow, the original constitution was voted on too, you know. The United States was founded on the ideal of popular sovereignty.

There's nothing inherently anti-democratic about judicial review (the ability of the courts to strike down laws as unconstitutional), so long as the court does not overreach. I'm personally in favor of gay marriage, but it's just not clear to me that it's unconstitutional for states to provide only straight marriage, and that's why I'm not sure judicial intervention is a good idea.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:26 PM on June 14, 2007


amberglow,
Here's one more for you--the Legislative Division writes and enacts laws, and the Judicial Division delineates, restricts and/or expands, and interprets and enforces all of them...

One last one: it's the Executive branch that does the enforcing, not the Judicial branch.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:27 PM on June 14, 2007


Ah, got it. That's must've been all you know, and that's why you trot it out at irrelevant moments.

Three-fourths of Massachusetts' democratically-elected representatives voted to support same-sex marriage statutes. Landslides are hardly irrelevant.

This "people need a voice" argument is garbage, of course. Opponents of same-sex marriage trot out the same shit: this stuff shouldn't be decided by the courts, it should decided by legislators. So when legislators decide it, now people need to decide it. I can only surmise that as polling shows people have already decided this in their day-to-day lives, we'll need to go back to the courts or whoever else can be coerced to settle this again.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:33 PM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


um. great!
posted by es_de_bah at 9:36 PM on June 14, 2007


This "people need a voice" argument is garbage, of course. Opponents of same-sex marriage trot out the same shit: this stuff shouldn't be decided by the courts, it should decided by legislators. So when legislators decide it, now people need to decide it. I can only surmise that as polling shows people have already decided this in their day-to-day lives, we'll need to go back to the courts or whoever else can be coerced to settle this again.

You're not actually talking to me, are you?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:40 PM on June 14, 2007


Well, in this country, we vote on issues.

I guess so, since this is generally not how it works.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:42 PM on June 14, 2007


Hooray!
posted by interrobang at 9:43 PM on June 14, 2007


amberglow, the original constitution was voted on too, you know. The United States was founded on the ideal of popular sovereignty.

Not in the sense you imply, it wasn't. Not remotely.

The only instance in which the Constitution was put to a popular vote was a ratification referendum in Rhode Island in 1788. It failed, but since that wasn't the specified convention they got a do-over in 1790.

The Constitution was voted in by convention delegates in the various states. The delegates were elected popularly.

But neither the Constitution nor the Articles of Confederation were ever, ever, ever put to a legally effective popular vote.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:51 PM on June 14, 2007


That is, matters important to the national consciousness are resolved through the democratic process.

No, they aren't. Well, some are, sure.

Others, like desegregation or the protection of various civil liberties, are resolved through judicial fiat, not the democratic process.

And yet other issues were resolved through four years of violent conflict, not the democratic process.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:56 PM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wonder if the Constitution itself would have even passed if it had had to be put to the general popular vote? (and only land-owning white men could vote back then, and not all of them i don't think)

Amendments to it are the only things voted on, i think, and it's very very hard to get those approved--on purpose.
posted by amberglow at 9:57 PM on June 14, 2007


But neither the Constitution nor the Articles of Confederation were ever, ever, ever put to a legally effective popular vote.

And that's why I wouldn't ever, ever, ever say they were.

Others, like desegregation or the protection of various civil liberties, are resolved through judicial fiat, not the democratic process.

What on earth are you talking about?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:03 PM on June 14, 2007


One last one: it's the Executive branch that does the enforcing, not the Judicial branch.
Do they tho? I thought that would fall on Law Enforcement all over, and the Legislative branches of every state or locality. Rewriting and removing laws after Court decisions, directing local enforcement people to stop prosecuting or start, etc, creating and funding and administrating all of it...
Like the recent Eminent Domain thing--what did/does the Executive do to make that actually happen in places as opposed to local authorities?

There's nothing inherently anti-democratic about judicial review (the ability of the courts to strike down laws as unconstitutional), so long as the court does not overreach.
But the legislature can always go back and rewrite and redo things or create new more clearly delineated laws that don't violate whatever areas a Court ruled. Some things tho, are rights, and rights are not ever "overreach". Rights aren't ever dependent on whatever we think at one time or another. It's not "overreach" to have a branch of Govt that isn't dependent on popular opinion--the other 2 always are.
posted by amberglow at 10:16 PM on June 14, 2007


Steve-- Brown, Roe, Griswold, Lawrence, Loving, ... Many of those were in fact overturnings of previous Court decisions that had gone the other way.

Which ones were the "overreach"? Bowers v. Hardwick or Lawrence v. Texas? Plessy or Brown? ...
posted by amberglow at 10:19 PM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


(which kinda proves too, that Courts are not exempt from popular opinion, and especially the Supremes)
posted by amberglow at 10:29 PM on June 14, 2007


amberglow,
I think you're confusing yourself a little. Law enforcement is a part of Executive power. For instance, the Justice Department, with the highest law enforcement official in our system (the Attorney General), is an Executive agency. This works the same at the state level, though each state does things a little differently (as per the rules set up by the legislature). Legislature does not direct prosecution; this is an Executive function. I'm not sure what you're asking with the Eminent Domain thing. The "local authorities" you mention that enforce the ruling at a local level would be agents of the local Executive branch, as the 3-leg separation system is mirrored, more or less, at the state level.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:46 PM on June 14, 2007


What on earth are you talking about?

You've honestly never heard of Brown vs. Board of Education, or Miranda v. Arizona, or Brandenburg v. Ohio, or Roe v. Wade, or Texas v. Johnson, or Lawrence v. Texas, or Loving v Virginia?

Goodness.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:02 PM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


BTW, our official state motto? "You're welcome."
Just FYI.
posted by uosuaq at 11:18 PM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sangermaine, i am confused about that. To me, it's on the ground where both laws and Court decisions actually get enforced, and that those aren't actually Executive. Police, local elected officials and govt employees, etc--anyone who has to do things in response--those aren't Executive, or even mostly Executive. Isn't it mostly non-Executive local people who actually enforce? And aren't Court decisions different from legislative law because it's often not about actual enforcement of a decision but simply non-enforcement and non-action that is the result (as in Lawrence)? Especially when the Court rules in favor of something that already exists?

Also, how does the DOJ or Executive enforce civil rights decisions, etc, when they now don't intervene in race-based cases at all anymore? Depending on the Executive to enforce a decision isn't always possible, depending on which decision and the people in power.
posted by amberglow at 11:28 PM on June 14, 2007


You've honestly never heard of Brown vs. Board of Education, or Miranda v. Arizona, or Brandenburg v. Ohio, or Roe v. Wade, or Texas v. Johnson, or Lawrence v. Texas, or Loving v Virginia?

Are you saying all of those were resolved through judicial fiat? If you are, I'm just going to laugh at you and let you carry on your merry way.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:23 AM on June 15, 2007


I'm personally in favor of gay marriage, but it's just not clear to me that it's unconstitutional for states to provide only straight marriage, and that's why I'm not sure judicial intervention is a good idea.

Wouldn't it hinge on the interpretation of Equal Protection? Then again:

"In Lawrence v. Texas (2003), the Court struck down a Texas statute prohibiting homosexual sodomy on substantive due process grounds. In Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's opinion concurring in the judgment, however, she argued that by prohibiting only homosexual sodomy, and not heterosexual sodomy as well, Texas's statute did not meet rational-basis review under the Equal Protection Clause; her opinion prominently cited City of Cleburne. Notably, O'Connor did not claim to apply a higher level of scrutiny than mere rational basis, and the Court has not extended suspect-class status to sexual orientation."

Still, my common-sense interpretation would be that gay marriage would be protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. But then, I think Affirmative Action is clearly unconstitutional, so I probably take Equal Protection more literally than some.
posted by kid ichorous at 2:07 AM on June 15, 2007


It appears that some of the aforementioned Tired Old Cranks have joined this thread.
posted by rxrfrx at 3:52 AM on June 15, 2007


One of the things that Representative Democracy has done really well in this case is separate those people who are passively in favor of a ban from those who are actively against it. These are the constitutional protections that are supposed to prevent a tyranny of the majority.

It is not enough to get 51% of the people to agree with you. You need to get 51% of the people to agree with you, and then get that to affect their vote for their representative.

When trying to strip rights from a minority, you can bet the minority is going to care an awful lot. And probably as well, their families and friends will care a great deal too They have a lot more to lose than the other side has to gain.

Imagine your state representative is working to attack *your* marriage, and tell me your vote will be based on education reform instead. It doesn't happen. And so, in the last state election, representatives in favor of the gay marriage ban did not fare well. The last time this vote came to the statehouse, it passed with 67 votes. This time it failed with 45.

The legislatures need to approve a consititutional amendment with 25% of the vote before it goes to the people, in two legislative sessions, specifically to prevent any issue from going directly to the popular vote. This is a protection for the minority with a lot to lose.

This is the democratic process. I cannot understand how those against gay marriage, can without a hint of irony, talk about the "right of the people to vote". They have no more right to vote directly on this, as they have to vote on what percentage the teachers' raise will be this year.

They actually got their due process. How can they say that it "should" go to the people for a vote? No, it shouldn't. Not legally, and certainly not morally.
posted by cotterpin at 5:38 AM on June 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America , it seems to me that the reason people are being short and snippy with you in this thread is because you are coming across like a needlessly offensive troll. Your position would be more credible if you engaged other people civilly and constructively, as I'm sure you're capable of doing.

Congratulations, Massachussets! Here's hoping this edges the US that much closer to the tipping point on this issue.
posted by Drexen at 5:48 AM on June 15, 2007


This is the democratic process. I cannot understand how those against gay marriage, can without a hint of irony, talk about the "right of the people to vote". They have no more right to vote directly on this, as they have to vote on what percentage the teachers' raise will be this year.

Repeated for emphasis.

Funny, I could have sworn that despite an overwhelming majority of Americans believing that abortion should always be legal if it threatens the health of the mother, Congress went ahead and passed a law banning a form of abortion without any exception. Voters didn't get to vote on that. They didn't get to vote for the Supreme Court Justices who erroneously upheld it either. I guess I missed all the complaints from these same right-wingers furious the "people weren't allowed to vote."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:19 AM on June 15, 2007


Yay. Good news.
posted by Tehanu at 7:58 AM on June 15, 2007


In the fourth year of my gay marriage (and 12th year of our relationship) and loving it.

Your profile says you live in California, which is decidedly not Massachusetts, currently the only place in the U.S. where same-sex marriage is legally recognized. And if you've never lived in Massachusetts, your marriage probably wasn't legal there, either.

Still, my common-sense interpretation would be that gay marriage would be protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. But then, I think Affirmative Action is clearly unconstitutional, so I probably take Equal Protection more literally than some.

I agree. Equality is equality is equality.
posted by oaf at 9:03 AM on June 15, 2007


My hat is off to the MA legislature, and to those that elected them. This is a big step on what has been a very rocky road.
posted by malocchio at 9:09 AM on June 15, 2007


One lawmaker, in her own words, who changed her vote on same-sex marriage:
"I know from listening to my constituents, since I first became Senator this year that this vote, the vote I take today, is the right vote for the people I serve. I have been most impressed by the number of individuals who have called me and asked me to change my vote because they have changed their minds. One grandmother told me she had changed her mind and wanted me to change my vote in case one of her grandchildren grew up to be gay or lesbian. She did not want any of her grandchildren to be denied the right to marry the person they love. This is exactly the legacy we will leave to generations beyond us, and the example we can set for the nation and, I daresay the world, which is certainly paying attention to what we do and say here today."
posted by ericb at 9:27 AM on June 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Your profile says you live in California, which is decidedly not Massachusetts, currently the only place in the U.S. where same-sex marriage is legally recognized.

I'm happy about Massachusetts and everything, but I think it's a safe bet that California isn't going to follow suit. If it (i.e., its Democrat-dominated legislature) does, there'll be hell to pay.
posted by blucevalo at 9:46 AM on June 15, 2007


Personal stories changed minds.
posted by ericb at 10:05 AM on June 15, 2007


"One legislator who switched his vote was Representative Paul Kujawski, Democrat of Uxbridge, saying meetings with gay and lesbian constituents convinced him that 'I couldn’t take away the happiness those people have been able to enjoy.'

Mr. Kujawski, who said he grew up in a conservative Roman Catholic neighborhood and had not understood gay relationships, said, 'So many people said, "I didn’t ask to be gay; I was born this way."'

He added, 'Our job is to help people who need help, and I feel the gay side of the issue needed more help than the other side.'

Senator Gale D. Candaras, a Democrat, voted against the amendment Thursday, although she had supported it as a state representative in January. Ms. Candaras said her vote reflected constituent views in her larger, more progressive Senate district and her fear of a vicious referendum campaign.

Most moving, she said, were older constituents who had changed their views after meeting gay men and lesbians. One woman had 'asked me to put it on the ballot for a vote, but since then a lovely couple moved in,' Ms. Candaras said. 'She said, "They help me with my lawn, and if there can’t be marriage in Massachusetts, they’ll leave and they can’t help me with my lawn."'" *
posted by ericb at 10:17 AM on June 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


...or style your hair, arrange your flowers, give your poodle a bath or serve your food! ; )
posted by ericb at 10:25 AM on June 15, 2007


or fight your fires -- and wars, are policemen and women, invest your money, ... ; >
posted by amberglow at 11:59 AM on June 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was there yesterday and in the gallery for the vote. The whole thing was indescribably awesome, I've never personally witnessed the affirmation of civil rights amongst the people it means the most to.

Here's some pictures and video from yesterday (and there's me in the bottom right!).
posted by rollbiz at 12:18 PM on June 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm happy about Massachusetts and everything, but I think it's a safe bet that California isn't going to follow suit. If it (i.e., its Democrat-dominated legislature) does, there'll be hell to pay.

blucevalo, actually the Cali legislature sent Schwarzenegger a bill in 2005, but he vetoed it, punting it to the courts.
posted by MikeKD at 1:09 PM on June 15, 2007


Good point, MikeKD -- even if the California legislature were to pass another gay-marriage bill (which it probably will do, sooner or later), Schwarzenegger would almost certainly veto it. It would be interesting to know whether Villaraigosa would veto it if he became governor in 2010.
posted by blucevalo at 3:51 PM on June 15, 2007


I was happy to hear about it this morning, and I'm waiting for the day that gay married couples from MA sue (successfully) to be recognized by the federal government...
posted by fermezporte at 3:52 PM on June 15, 2007


Well, in this country, we vote on issues. Even important issues

Our freedoms are not subject to be lost/restricted via the democratic process willy-nilly!

Due process, the necessary & proper clause, and judicial review are important hurdles in our system.

This is not (just) a democracy.
Not just a republic.
Not a democratic republic.

This is a constitutional democratic republic. Each of these words means something, important.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 4:06 PM on June 15, 2007


and I'm waiting for the day that gay married couples from MA sue (successfully) to be recognized by the federal government...

Totally--they have the best standing to do so, i think. I was hoping all thru the 90s someone would--those Hawaiians who were first or someone -- but no one did, and now the court's much worse.
posted by amberglow at 4:15 PM on June 15, 2007


I'm waiting for the day that gay married couples from MA sue (successfully) to be recognized by the federal government...

And -- "out-of-staters" may come here to get married* and then seek recognition of their union under Article 4 | Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution: "Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public Acts, Records and judicial Proceedings of every other state."

* -- Many "out-of-staters" have already been married in Massachusetts. Former Governor (Flip) Romney ("I was for gay rights befiore I was against them") invoked a 1913 law to disavow their marriages. Governor Patrick and many others are seeking to rescind that rarely enforced law, thus recognizing any-and-all gay marriages in Massachusetts as being legal despite the state residency of the betrothed.
posted by ericb at 4:42 PM on June 15, 2007


That just happened here in NY i think--couples who were married in Mass during that window of time-- before the state court cases decided against couples here-- now have full faith and credit, but only here.

Good thing at Prospect: MARCHING LEFT
posted by amberglow at 6:53 PM on June 15, 2007


Former Governor (Flip) Romney ("I was for gay rights befiore I was against them") invoked a 1913 law to disavow their marriages.

Let's not forget that this 1913 law was put in place to allow bigotry (specifically the prevention of interracial marriage) to live another day in this country even though it was then allowed in MA. The law represents not only racism but cowardice and the fear of being a moral beacon to the rest of this country on an issue of progressive equality. Gov. Patrick promised yesterday that this law is a short distance from the history books.
posted by rollbiz at 7:48 PM on June 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


what rollbiz said.

Nice piece about it: ... And as every year goes by, when it is clear that no evil has come from treating everyone with dignity and respect, it will be a harder case to make.
...
The same number of children will grow up to be homosexual. Being treated fairly under the law does not make someone a homosexual. Maybe? A few more won't kill themselves. ...

posted by amberglow at 1:01 AM on June 16, 2007


just sayin' that in the general case there is a potential can of worms here -- the law of unintended consequences -- as people are programmed, and can be counted on, to work/abuse the system. By creating a gold-standard domestic partnership outside the bounds of trad household marriage partners, weird things might result.

Oh yeah, like MY FINALLY HAVING HEALTH INSURANCE. Whee! Check me out as I game the system! Awesome! Now, the more conservative among you could tell me to just marry my boyfriend and get it that way, but we're not religious and we're rather distrustful of government, like the good little ultraliberal semi-libertarians that we are. A piece of paper = not necessary to our relationship.

So thankfully, the free market -- i.e. boyfriend's employer -- recognizes the value of domestic partnerships and allows us to have some of the benefits everyone else takes for granted. Like, say, health insurance... which I couldn't afford on my lame authorly salary even if there was a reasonably priced option out there.

I miss living in Massachusetts. Being out here on red island kinda sucks.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:04 AM on June 16, 2007


That's interesting that you bring that up, bitter-girl, because the legalization of same sex marriage/equal rights for gays is actually likely reduce or eliminate rights for domestic partners. For example, if I remember correctly, the Boston Globe stopped health care for domestic partners once gay marriage was legalized.
posted by fermezporte at 9:21 AM on June 16, 2007


Four Targeted for Shift on Same-sex Marriage Vote
"Same-sex marriage opponents yesterday vowed to unseat four lawmakers who campaigned on a promise of supporting a constitutional ban but abandoned that position on Thursday, helping gay rights advocates win a historic victory at the Constitutional Convention."
posted by ericb at 9:53 AM on June 16, 2007


Gov. Patrick promised yesterday that this law is a short distance from the history books.

Yep.
"Proponents said they will also eventually look to open the door to couples from other states to marry in Massachusetts. [Marc] Solomon [campaign director of MassEquality] said there is overwhelming support in the Legislature to repeal the 1913 law that prohibits couples from out of state from marrying in Massachusetts if the union would not be legal in their own state.

'The next step is to sit down with legislative leaders and the governor's people and talk about when it makes sense to advance that piece of legislation,' said Solomon, adding that there are no immediate plans for such a meeting."*
posted by ericb at 9:57 AM on June 16, 2007


That's interesting that you bring that up, bitter-girl, because the legalization of same sex marriage/equal rights for gays is actually likely reduce or eliminate rights for domestic partners. For example, if I remember correctly, the Boston Globe stopped health care for domestic partners once gay marriage was legalized.

And at the same time, most of the State Constitutional Amendments banning it have also removing domestic partner rights for both straight and gay couples in those states--it's the wording of them that prohibits anything even resembling marriage rights.
posted by amberglow at 11:09 AM on June 18, 2007


Unmarried couples lose legal benefits
posted by amberglow at 5:32 PM on June 20, 2007


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