Latest developments in gay marriage debate

Latest developments in gay marriage debate

Here’s the short form of what happened yesterday in the gay marriage debates. The day opened with House Speaker Tom Finneran springing a surprise on gay marriage supporters by offering his own constitutional amendment that would have defined traditional marriage and opened the door for civil unions legislation later. Critics said that was a ruse and that they would never get their civil unions law. They also didn’t like Finneran surprising everyone. That amendment was voted down.

So the other side, backed by Senate President Bob Travaglini and the Senate Republican leader proposed their amendment that would have banned gay marriage, but explicitly set up civil unions as well. Although the second proposal was initially hated by both the pro-marriage and pro-gay sides, the pro-gay activists decided to support the amendment in order to block an outright ban, and then defeat this one in next year’s constitutional convention. That didn’t work and that was voted down.

So today, Finneran is putting forward another proposal that would ban gay marriage and explicitly set up civil union, but without giving as many benefits as the Travaglini amendment would. Gay activists are wary because they don’t trust Finneran. And, true to form, Travaglini’s side is looking for loopholes in the rules to resurrect his amendment to be voted on again. Nothing like manipulating the system to your benefit when things don’t go your way.

The sad part is that whatever happens today is not the end because they have to go through this all over again next year and then there will be the big debates leading up to the November 2006 referendum. And in the intervening 2-1/2 years we will be bombarded with the most incredible media blitz you can imagine trying to convince us that gay married couples are normal just like real married couples. There will be the news features showing blushing bearded brides in Provincetown, taking their vows. And some Catholic priest will attend a wedding, purely in a person capacity, don’t you know, to offer a “blessing.” After 30 months, people will be asking, what’s the big deal? Just wait and see.

Oh, and the big rush on this week’s constitutional convention? The reason they have to end this by Friday? The lawmakers want to get out in time for their winter break vacations next week. Oh, so sorry to inconvenience them. Being a state lawmaker is so much heavy lifting. How dare we ask them to deal with the serious issues of governance. Sometimes I think we’d be better off under a monarchy.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli

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