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MARRIAGE DIGEST: Mass. amendment signature drive appears successful; Canadians still hope to reverse ‘gay marriage’ law

BOSTON (BP)–Supporters of a constitutional marriage amendment in Massachusetts say they have collected approximately twice the number of signatures required in their effort to place an amendment before voters in 2008.

VoteOnMarriage.org and the Massachusetts Family Institute said Nov. 22 they had gathered more than 120,000 signatures — significantly more than the 66,000 required, the Associated Press reported. The deadline for submitting signatures was Nov. 23.

The amendment essentially would reverse the 2003 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court legalizing “gay marriage.” The ruling took effect in May 2004.

Pro-family groups had only 60 days to collect the signatures.

“I credit this phenomenal effort to thousands of citizen volunteers and over 1,200 communities of faith — including Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim — who have worked tirelessly to give every citizen in the Commonwealth a voice in how marriage is defined in Massachusetts,” Massachusetts Family Institute President Kris Mineau said in a statement, according to AP.

Local election clerks must first check the signatures before forwarding them to the secretary of state by Dec. 7.

Assuming the effort yields enough valid signatures, the proposed amendment then must garner the support of at least 25 percent of Massachusetts state legislators in two consecutive sessions. If that occurs, citizens would vote on the matter in 2008.

But the amendment has lost two allies in recent weeks. Democratic state Rep. Philip Travis, a vocal opponent of “gay marriage,” said Nov. 16 he would not run for re-election in 2006, The Boston Globe reported. In addition, Democratic state Rep. Eugene L. O’Flaherty, who in the past has opposed “gay marriage,” has switched his position and no longer supports a marriage amendment, the Bay Windows homosexual newspaper reported.

Although the proposed amendment would ban future “gay marriages,” it would allow existing ones to stand. Conservatives who drafted the amendment feared that a stronger amendment — one that banned all “gay marriages” — would be overturned in federal court and would not garner enough support in the Massachusetts legislature, one of the more liberal ones in the U.S.

HOPE IN CANADA? — Canada likely will hold a national election in the coming months, giving conservatives there hope that the new “gay marriage” law can be overturned in Parliament. (Unlike the U.S., Canada does not have scheduled elections.) If the law is to be reversed, the Conservatives, under the leadership of Stephen Harper, must come to power. Harper has promised a “free vote” on the new marriage law if Conservatives win control of Parliament — meaning that all members of Parliament (MPs) will be able to vote their conscience and not be required to vote the party line.

Prime Minister Paul Martin and the governing Liberal Party pushed through a “gay marriage” bill this summer, making Canada the fourth nation to redefine marriage. Martin was criticized for requiring his cabinet members to support the bill.

Harper would become prime minister if Conservatives win Parliament. Of the four major parties in Canada, the Conservatives are the lone one to oppose “gay marriage.”

Meanwhile, two former political opponents have come together in an effort to overturn the marriage law. Former Liberal MP Pat O’Brien and former Conservative MP Grant Hill say they have formed a new organization, Defend Marriage Canada, in hopes to see the “gay marriage” law overturned, Canadian Press reported Nov. 22. They say they will work to elect candidates who oppose “gay marriage.”

“This issue’s not over in the minds of millions of Canadians,” O’Brien said, according to CP.

‘GAY CHRISTIAN’ MATCHMAKING? — A man in Indiana has founded a matchmaking service aimed at homosexuals who are professing Christians, WRTV in Indianapolis reported in November. The website is intended to provide a homosexual response to the popular website eHarmony.com.

“I’m a Christian. I believe the Bible’s the word of God,” Justin Cannon, a homosexual and the website’s founder, told the television station. “You hear that the Bible condemns homosexuality and you hear sermons against it and you hear all of that.”

In a comment conservative Christians might call a bit ironic, Cannon also said, “I’m going to have to stand before God someday and account for everything that I’m doing.”

The website is a reflection of the success of so-called “pro-gay theology,” which attempts to reinterpret passages such as Romans 1:26-27 that clearly condemn homosexuality.

BITTER EDITORIAL — Texans overwhelmingly approved a constitutional marriage amendment Nov. 8, and the Houston Chronicle’s editorial board — a vocal amendment opponent — is still seething. Under the headline of “Bitter Pill,” the Chronicle criticized passage of the amendment, calling it an “embarrassment.”

“Its presence on the ballot was as unnecessary as it was mean-spirited,” the Nov. 15 editorial read. “Texas law already defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and Texas does not recognize same-sex unions recognized in other states. In their zeal to prevent gay partners from enjoying any government recognition of their union, the drafters of the bill added language that prohibits any legal status similar or identical to marriage. Isn’t marriage identical to marriage? What have Proposition 2 supporters wrought?”

The “similar or identical to” language is intended to ban Vermont-style civil unions, which grant same-sex couples the legal benefits of marriage without using the term “marriage.” Other states, such as Arkansas, have nearly identical language in their amendments.

The amendment passed by a margin of 76-24 percent. Nineteen states now have adopted marriage amendments, and at least nine more could be voting on them in 2006. The amendments prevent rulings from state courts — such as what happened in Massachusetts — legalizing “gay marriage.
For more information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage.

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  • Michael Foust