Tuesday, January 2, 2007

A Matter of Justice

Here, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Same Sex Marriage is legal. Unfortunately, it remains under attack. Today, the Massachusetts Legislature met in a Constitutional Convention. It is abbreviated to Con-Con. It has seemed so convoluted that it could be called the Con-Con-Con! Governor-Elect Deval Patrick released a statement to our Legislators today that sums up my feelings far more eloquently than I could.

"I believe that adults should be free to choose whom they wish to love and to marry.  The SJC's decision in Goodridge affirms that basic human right, and I support it.

Above all, this is a question of conscience.  Using the initiative process to give a minority fewer freedoms than the majority, and to inject the state into fundamentally private affairs, is a dangerous precedent, and an unworthy one for this Commonwealth.  Never in the long history of our model Constitution have we used the initiative petition to restrict freedom.  We ought not start now.

For practical reasons as well, it's time to move on.  Whatever one's views of marriage equality, all can agree that we have far more pressing issues before the Legislature and the Commonwealth.  It serves no public interest to focus more time and attention on this issue when there are under-served and under-performing schools, an infrastructure showing signs of sustained neglect, gun and gang violence on the rise, jobs and people leaving the state, a growing homeless population, soaring health care costs, a looming deficit and a score of other serious challenges crying out for the attention and the creativity of the government and the people.  We cannot in good conscience ask these unmet needs to wait while a few individuals try to insert discrimination into our Constitution.

I favor ending this petition initiative promptly.  If adjournment can accomplish that, so be it.  If the Constitutional Convention chooses to vote on the merits, I want to be utterly clear that I believe a vote to advance this question to the 2008 ballot is irresponsible and wrong.  Given the significant challenges we face on so many other fronts, I would be deeply disappointed in such a vote.  It would do nothing more than condemn us all to more years of debate and expense on a matter that is legally and practically settled."
--- Massachusetts Governor-Elect Deval Patrick

:: One of the most specious arguments against Gay Marriage has been proffered by a number of socially conservative groups, including the Roman Catholic Church. The legality of same sex marriage in no way intrudes upon who the Church allows to marry. Yet they continue to inveigh that same sex marriage is an attack on the family and undermines the sacrament of marriage. In our experience, nothing could be further from the truth. Allowing more couples to publicly affirm their commitment and enter into legal marriages can only serve to strengthen our society. My husband Chuck and I have been happily, legally married for fifteen years. We wish all couples, gay and straight, the same opportunity, the same right.


Gail said...


Anonymous said...

I second that AMEN!-- KRL