Friday, November 10

In 2004...

...I found myself giving up on most of my work for a few days to
watch the Massachusetts constitutional convention. It was a
wonderful object lesson in how a single issue can drive an entire
political realignment.

As the Massachusetts legislature debated, something became clear: in
Vermont, when civil unions were established, they were seen as
radical and a major change by those who opposed same-sex marriage.
Shortly after, when Massachusetts was debating, civil unions were
suddenly the only conservative option. There was no chance of
passage of any legislation which didn't support some form of
acceptance for same sex unions.

In Vermont, Democrats suffered a major defeat the next election
cycle, which was quickly reversed. Today, their majority is not only
strong, but strong enough to override a veto if necessary.

In Massachusetts, the legislative body simply chose not to act on
their Supreme Judicial Court ruling, allowing it to stand, though it
took much argument and sometimes vicious rhetoric to get there. A
number of people were angered by this and attempted to produce their
own amendment to the constitution in Massachusetts to eliminate the
scourge of gay marriage and, apparently, protect their own marriage.

Well, they needed legislative consent to make such an amendment and
it turns out they didn't get it. The legislature didn't vote it up
or down. They simply ignored it. Not the most aggressive stance
one way or the other, but still a completely appropriate punt.

The people who oppose same-sex marriage have an option here: they can
elect a new legislature, one who will heed their concerns. They have
that right. They, however, have been failures in this regard.

Personally, that makes me happy.

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