BOSTON (BP)–The effort to pass a state constitutional marriage amendment in Massachusetts took a hit Sept. 29 when the speaker of the House, a same-sex “marriage” opponent, was replaced by a vocal supporter of same-sex “marriage.”
Speaker of the House Thomas Finneran, who led the charge to pass a constitutional marriage amendment earlier this year, stepped down to become president of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council. His replacement,
Salvatore DiMasi, was elected by an overwhelming margin in the Democratic-controlled chamber.
The news is a boost to homosexual activists, who now have a prominent political leader on their side in the same-sex “marriage” debate.
The marriage amendment must pass one more legislative session in order to make it on the ballot, which would be 2006 at the earliest. But now, nothing is guaranteed — not even a vote.
“It is pretty much over,” Senate minority leader Brian P. Lees, a
Republican who supported the amendment, told the Associated Press. “In fact, there will be a question as to whether the issue will come up at all.”
The House and Senate met together in a constitutional convention March 29 and passed the amendment by a vote of 105-92 — just four votes more than the
101 needed. The convention was held in reaction to a ruling by the state’s high court legalizing same-sex “marriage.” The ruling took effect in May.
“Now we don’t have an opponent in the speaker’s office pushing for the worse scenario in each legislative moment,” Arline Isaacson of the
Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus told AP.
The amendment is far from perfect. While it would ban same-sex “marriage” — and thus reverse the high court’s ruling — it would also legalize Vermont-style civil unions. But in Massachusetts’ liberal-leaning legislature, it was the best conservatives could do.
Pro-family leaders in the state aren’t giving up.
“We hope the new speaker will carry out his constitutional duties and be responsive to the desires of the good citizens of Massachusetts, the majority of whom stand for traditional marriage,” Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, told AP.
Senate President Robert E. Travaglini supports the amendment.
OHIO AMEND. ON BALLOT — Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell said Sept. 29 that a state constitutional amendment there has qualified for the Nov. 2 ballot. Blackwell said that 342,212 signatures had been certified — more than then 323,000 required.
The pro-family group that collected the signatures, the Ohio Campaign to
Protect Marriage, initially fell 42,000 shy of the required total. But the group submitted an additional 144,000 supplemental signatures — a practice allowed in Ohio.
Homosexual activists so far have failed in their legal challenges to keep the amendment off the ballot.
Meanwhile, Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro, a Republican, said Sept. 27 that he opposes the amendment and believes it would harm the state’s economy. Petro said the second sentence of the amendment could jeopardize domestic partnership benefits that cities and colleges currently offer, AP reported.
As many as 11 states could vote on marriage amendments Nov. 2.
GA. RULING — A judge in Georgia refused Sept. 29 to take a constitutional amendment off that state’s Nov. 2 ballot. Amendment opponents said they would appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court.
“The courts may not insert themselves into the legislative process prior to the enactment of laws any more than legislators may intervene in a jury’s verdict or a judge’s ruling in a specific case,” Russell wrote, according to
After failing to defeat Missouri’s marriage amendment at the ballot in early August, homosexual activists filed a series of lawsuits in other states in an attempt to prevent votes on other marriage amendments. A lawsuit is still pending in Arkansas. Homosexual activists failed in lawsuits in Louisiana and Oklahoma.
The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal — a homosexual activist group — are involved in the Georgia lawsuit.
SUPPORT IN MICH. — A second poll in as many weeks shows that Michigan voters appear to support the marriage amendment that will be on the Nov. 2 ballot. The Marketing Resource Group poll showed that 61 percent support the amendment while 33 percent oppose it. The poll of 600 registered voters was conducted Sept. 20-24.
An earlier poll by EPIC/MRA showed support at 54 percent and opposition at 37 percent. That poll, which consisted of 600 likely voters, was conducted
Both polls contrast with a Gallup poll done Sept. 10-13 that showed the amendment losing by a margin of 51-45 percent.
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage