Three options in Massachusetts or four

Three options in Massachusetts or four

The Speaker of the House in Massachusetts, Tom Finneran, is usually acknowledged as a practicing Catholic, but first he’s a pragmatic politician. He’s a Democrat who is usually conservative on social issues, and semi-liberal on fiscal ones. Yesterday, he said he sees three options out of the Mass. SJC’s gay marriage ruling. He said we can pass a constitutional amendment enshrining traditional marriage as law, they can set up a civil unions system, or they can let the ruling stand as is and let gay marriage come into being.

I think he’s wrong. There is another option. The Legislature could tell the court that it’s all wet, that it has no business telling the Legislature what laws it has to pass, that it has exceeded its constitutional mandate and that it will not allow the Department of Public Health to allow the handing out of marriager licenses to gay couples. But of course that’s the dangerous and unpopular path and politicians don’t like such courses of action.

Finneran said that the Legislature will decide what to do in the coming months, probably after carefully testing the political waters, trying to find the politically expedient thing to do.

Even the gay rights activists said they didn’t like them playing politics with this issue. Yet that’s the way things are and that’s the way politicians are. Barring an outright miracle, we’re now stuck with gay marriage in Massachusetts, unless and until a federal marriage amendment is passed. Anyone willing to take odds on when that will happen?

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli

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