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Even as gay and lesbian civil rights have dramaticaly progressed in the past few decades, there is no question that the religious right has mounted an organized and often, hate-infused backlash movement. The particular wedge issue for the religious right these days, is marriage equality.

Marriage equality promises to be one of the central issues of our time. I live in Massachusetts, where an antimarriage equality amendment will probably be on the ballot in 2008.  

It will change political life in my state forever.



As has been widely reported, antimarriage equality amendments to state constitutions have been passed in a number of states, primarily via ballot initiatives, and these initiatives have been used to rally voters to the polls, primarily for the benefit of conservative Republicans.

Massachusetts is the only state where there is full marriage equality, thanks to a ruling of the Supreme Judicial Court.

The religious right, led by the Massachusetts Family Institute,(MFI) along with the Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts, have succceeded in getting the signatures they need to get on the ballot for 2008. The initiative still needs to get 50 votes in two successive sessions of the state legislature to make the ballot. Since this seems likely, it is reasonable to assume that this initiative will be on the ballot.

In my recent speech at Blog Left Massachussetts, I stressed that it is is necessary for Massachusetts citizens to get ready. I promised that Talk to Action would help track the activities of the religious right as it bears down on our state. Fortunately blogger Marry in Massachusetts was on hand to write down my remarks:

He concluded his presentation with a major theme on same-sex marriage. He said that the current struggle with change the face of politics in Massachusetts forever.

"Massachusetts is ground zero," he said. He predicted that a tremendous amount of resources, financial and human, will pour into the commonwealth for this effort.

Bloggers will have a special responsibility, he added. This includes:

Being aware of who's coming.


Learn why they're coming.


Keep track of what they do here.


Help the media and political leaders understand what they are doing.


There are only two years to do this. Bloggers can make a huge difference.

As part of this effort, I want to call attention to something I wrote a few weeks ago, detailing the way that the MFI is part of a national network of state level political groups which serve as fronts for James Dobson's Focus on the Family.

Several years ago, I wrote a study about state level conservative think tanks and advocacy groups, published by Political Research Associates (pdf file). There were two, related networks started in tandem in the late 1980s. One emphasized the business/libertarian part of public policy, and the other emphasized the policy issues dear to the religious right. The latter, was the network of Family Policy Councils affiliated with James Dobson's Focus on the Family. The details have changed since I published that study, but the general trajectory remains the same. Most importantly, these groups are at the forefront of antimarriage equality campaigns nationwide, and their role as fronts for Focus on the Family are not widely understood and that Dobson's organization has active, organizational tentacle in 34 states, in addition to his radio program which is available just about everywhere.

For example, the point group in the recently defeated effort to repeal anti-discrimination laws in Maine, was the FOF affiliate, the Christian Civic League of Maine.

There will, no doubt, be many religious right organizations that will be targeting resources on Massachusetts. But when we look at the role of the Massachusetts Family Institute, it is important to noltice the long shadow of James Dobson and Focus on the Family.

Whether or not marriage equality affects you personally, or whether or not you are from Massachusetts, this battle will have many national implications. The national Democratic party, the wealthy donors, and the interest groups that could make a difference, usually don't pay much attention to Massachusetts. They tend to take it for granted, and focus thier attention and resources elsewhere.

Old habits and ways of thinking die hard. But I can tell you that Massachusetts will need help to contend with the outside forces that are already bearing down on us.

Wherever you happen to be, please be thinking about what you might be able to do to help. And don't worry, I will come around with suggestions from time to time.

Originally posted to Frederick Clarkson on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 11:12 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  In Massachusetts (4.00)
    We intend take back the governor's office in '06. We will also have an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature, and we will be able to move a truly democratic agenda for the first time in a generation.

    The GOP and thier friends in the religious right want to set that agenda back. The antimarriage equality ballot initative will be part of that effort, although it is certainly appearing for many other reasons as well.

    We are going to fight this thing. I hope lots of kossacks will be with us. We are going to need you.

    •  Things (4.00)
      would be a lot easier if a Dem took the Statehouse....

      Great Article Fred. I saw it originally at Talk to Action (Your welcome for the plug :-)

      ANd thanks for pointing out how we progressives in MA can help.

      ARB

      •  You can help by (none)
        donating to MassEquality, the political umbrella organization that successfully lobbied to block the first anti-gay Amendment in the legislature.

        They did it largely by making sure legislators heard from their constituents, through good, old-fashioned phonebanking, canvassing and other grassroots efforts. In fact, this effort led one of the sponsors of the first amendment to change his mind:


        Addressing fellow lawmakers in convention, Lees said he received more than 7,000 e-mails and post cards on the issue - the majority urging a no vote.

        "Gay marriage has begun and life has not changed for the citizens of the commonwealth, with the exception of those who can now marry," Lees explained. "This amendment which was an appropriate measure of compromise a year ago, is no longer, I feel a compromise today."  (innewsweekly sept 22 2005)

        It takes only 50 legislators to put this new, far more draconian amendment on the ballot. And fighting a ballot initiative is far more expensive than stopping the measure in the legislature. Considering Focus on the Family has a budget larger than all gay rights organizations put together, it will be a huge uphill battle.

        If you're in the Boston area, they also need telephone volunteers over the next few weeks. Pay them a visit, or contribute.

    •  I'm with you... (none)
      ...and lots of others should be too, since apparently John Kerry won't be. Quite a daunting task this will be.

      When Jesus returns, religious wingnuttia will have him committed to an asylum. - anonymous

      by Doug in SF on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 05:28:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  From the Baystate. (4.00)
           We need to draw the line, and we need to draw it here. You are correct, Massachusetts is "ground zero," in this fight. This is where the line gets drawn. We are going to need every Kossack out there. They are marshalling their troops, we need to marshall ours! I do not want my homestate to "fall," in this fight. This fight is too important to lose. Equality is on the line here. Massachusetts needs to make a statement that ensures equality for all of us, not just for some of us.
            Every opposition to the political agenda of the "right" counts, but this is the fight that defines us as a people. We cannot afford to lose this struggle. Something very precious is "on the line" here. Equality for all of us. For each of us. If we lose this struggle, then we have lost something terribly important.
           
      •  Hammer this talking point... (4.00)
        I grew up in Western Mass -- 7th generation Berkshire resident -- where my parents still live. And I think the diarist has identified the key talking point to pre-empt this effort:

        This legislation comes from out-of-state. Massachusetts residents should stick together to reject this attempt to control our State.

        Repeat that ad nauseam. Don't even let them debate the issue. Massachusetts citizens should reject this as out-of-state meddling in their affairs.

        And expand on that whenever possible:

        -- The right wing is using front groups to hide the actual origins of these extremist proposals.

        -- The money is coming from out of state to back legislation on Massachusetts' home turf.

        -- Extremists from other parts of the country, who don't understand New Englanders' fierce independence and live-and-let-live philosophy, are trying to turn Massachusetts into Arkansas (or wherever -- sorry, Arkansans; this is war).

        Box them out: Anyone who votes for this amendment is voting with outside meddlers, instead of defending Massachusetts from others trying to control the State's agenda.

        "Animals are my friends--and I don't eat my friends." (G.B. Shaw) Click to read the 'Union'

        by Hudson on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 10:06:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly. (4.00)
          Same-sex couples have been getting married here for a while now, and the sky hasn't fallen.  The fact of the matter is that an overwhelming majority of Massachusetts residents accepts gay marriage now that we see what it really means:  those two guys down the street, who we already knew and liked okay, are just a little happier and a little safer now.  Maybe some people had their doubts before, but now we know what it really means we know it's just common Yankee decency to live and let live.

          This is about our towns and our neighbors.  What we've got is a bunch of fanatics coming in here from out of state who want to tell us how we should vote and how our neighbors are allowed to live their lives.  When they're not pretending to represent us, they're out badmouthing the whole lot of us.

          Massachusetts is a great state.  It's a state with strong public policy and strong morals.  We've got low murder rates, low divorce rates, high literacy rates, good health care.  We've got good public transportation and a good environment.  

          Now these reverse carpetbaggers from some state where people all run around killing each other and burning books want to come up here and tell us how to run our affairs.  If their way is so darn good, how come they have to try to sell it to us with bait and switch tactics?  How come our murder rate is lower than theirs, how come our divorce rate is lower than theirs?  These theocrats won't be happy unless they can make our state as miserable as their is.

          We should send them packing as soon as they get here.  And they can take Mitt with them.

        •  Out of state. (4.00)
          Yes, absolutely.  This needs to be talking point number one - NO conversation about the subject starts without "well, I'm not sure why we're even having this conversation since the support and money behind this comes from out of state..."

          And then you move on to "these are our neighbors."  Because they are.  Even if you're not from Northampton, these are your neighbors.  

          And "gosh, gay people been getting married for a couple years now and the sky hasn't fallen yet."  

          These are our people, Massachusetts people, under attack by people from other states, spending their big money to tell us what to do.  Look at all the bad stuff those out-of-staters said would happen if we let gay marriage start, and it started and nothing bad has happened as a result, has it?  So now do you want to take away people's rights, tell them that they're not married anymore?

        •  100%! (none)
               We need to make it clear to everyone that these people are from "out of state," basically trying to force their politics on us.
                OUTSIDERS! All in caps!
    •  Where is the previous post on (none)
      MFI and its connection to Dobson? Important stuff--but the link is dead!
    •  Boston Globe: Romney should resign (none)
      The storm might burst quicker than we think considering this:

      GLOBE EDITORIAL
      December 15, 2005

      OUR NEW YEAR'S wish: a governor who wouldn't rather be elsewhere.

      By thumbing his nose at Massachusetts after less than three-quarters of one term as its chief executive, Mitt Romney, yesterday surrendered his clout and squandered his legitimacy. If, as it appears, his heart and mind are no longer in Massachusetts, he should **resign.**

      Continued:

      http://www.livejournal.com/...

      CRIMES AND CORRUPTIONS OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER NEWS

      http://www.livejournal.com/...

      by ccnwon on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 06:38:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No kidding! (none)
             Just sent a letter to the editor,  complaining about the governor. Since Rip Van Romney has Santa's sack open this year-in the form of the Shoot First-gun law-I was thinking that if he really wanted to give the Baystate a real Christmas present-as long as he has that sack open-why doesn't he throw in some clothes, a toothbrush and go?
             Home for the holidays. His, not mine.
    •  I am with you. (none)


      I believe this is the vanguard of the progressive movement.

      There. I used the word "progressive." I'm a liberal through and through, but this is a Progressive issue if ever there was one.

    •  Ditto (none)
      California.  Imagine if Gray Davis had been Gov when that marriage bill reached his desk....

      Visit RemoveRepublicans.com and follow every 2006 Senate race.

      by AnthonySF on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 08:21:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's chicken or egg... (none)
      If gay marriage heats up, support for progressives/liberals/democrats does down.

      "What luck for rulers that men do not think." - Adolf Hitler

      by Bensdad on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 12:37:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So drop it? (none)
        If progressness or liberalism means advocating advocating equality among all citizens, why should

        Or does that mean that progressiveness or liberalism is only a label, and that 'unpopular' ideas should automatically be dropped for fear that 'support' in general for people who support these ideas declines.

        What if progressives had done nothing to get miscegenation laws off the books (once in the 1940s, 90% of Californians were opposed to allowing interracial marriage), not to get rid of poll taxes, or not support suffrage, simply because those ideas were unpopular at the time?

        •  Wow.....that's a lot to deal with.... (none)
          ...all I am saying is strategize. It is no longer sufficient to be for what you are for. We are living in a distant mirror of Nazi Germany and like totalitarian regimes. They have propagandized the people to think "Gay marriage, bad". Most Americans DO think that. Accept it. Once you do, you know what you are up against. And tear me a new asshole if you wish, but despite the fact I am gay, I do not think that gay marriage is the priority right now, nor should it be. It is a wedge issue that drives people that would either wise be with us, against us. It worked beautifully in 2004, when we handed the election to them on a silver platter, with parsely on the side, and a lemon wedge.

          Be smart. Think smart. Strategize. Prioritize. Propagandize. We. Are. At. War. Lives are at stake. I'll live in sin until we sort the rest of this out.

          "What luck for rulers that men do not think." - Adolf Hitler

          by Bensdad on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 09:44:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Natural (4.00)
    I believe that this is the defining issue of our day. Not necessarily the most important issue on a day to day basis, but people 100 years from now will look back with disdain on a society that did not recognize that gayness is every bit as natural as heterosexuality. And I say that as a straight guy.

    This issue is like the canary in the coal mine, indicating how healthy our society is.

    I'd love to hear politicians proudly proclaiming that gayness is 100% natural. I do not hear this, though.

    •  I hope people look back in ... (4.00)
      20 years with disdain on a society that did not recognize that gayness is every bit as natural as heterosexuality.
      •  Considering... (none)
        How long its taken black people to come even remotely close to equality, 100 is probably the far more realistic estimate. Considering the degree to which racism still exists in our society, even that's probably rather optimistic...
        •  I know, I know. But I'll be long .... (none)
          ...dead in 100 years. I'll probably be alive in 20 and this disdain would be music to my superannuated ears.
          •  I doubt it will take that long (none)
            The ONLY camp on our side of the political divide that is as sophisticated, motivated, unified, and effective as the religious right is on their side, is the gay community. All I can say about that is THANK GOD at least some of our players understand how to achieve large goals through teamwork.

            I really do think marriage equality (nice framing, by the way) will be universal far more quickly than most of us might imagine, simply because there is such a strong effort in support of it.

            -- I share no man's opinions; I have my own. -t -6.75 -3.79

            by tergenev on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 05:31:48 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  How does the 'unified' gay community (none)
              view the Log Cabin republicans?

              Are they regarded more or less as a minor nusiance, irrelevant, headshakingly bipolar, or a real problem?

              •  Actually they have been doing good work (4.00)
                In the last few years since Patrick Guerrero (sp.) took over there.  The first thing he did was start conferencing with other gay groups and he laid down an order that anyone in LCR talking trash about liberal gay groups would be terminated.  He's said that LCR is a gay group first and foremost, not a Republican group.  
              •  Log Cabiners (4.00)
                Speaking as a straight partner of a bisexual who has been involved in the equality stuff for a while, I can say that on the state level the Log Cabin crowd has been valuable in getting a decent number of Republican state reps/senators to vote for equality.

                On the national level they're pathetic, though.

              •  LCR Okay? (none)
                Speaking as an active Democrat who is also a lesbian and a Stonewall Democrat, I can still say that I think the Log Cabin Republicans are A-Okay when they forget they're Republicans and work for equality for the LGBT community.

                Some of them are even okay when they act like moderate Republicans (if you're old enough to remember what the phrase moderate Republican means!).

                But when they're Bush supporters on non-gay issues, they're still a bunch of Republican jackasses!

                •  Thanks for the comments (4.00)
                  (you and the above posters).

                  So, it appears that the LCRers seem to actually be helpful - perhaps that's a stategy we all should emulate - namely, we should all join the Republican Party and change it from within and leave the DLC'ers to fade into much needed irrelevance.

                  •  Actually, that's the reason (none)
                    I'm going back to the Catholic Church.

                    I'm sick of the fact that the Catholic Church has had much of the reforms of Vatican II undone by reactionary idealogues who seem to have forgotten that Christ taught about compassion for the poor more than any other topic.

                    Time to start going back to Church, and do my best to be a good example of a Catholic who keeps the teachings of Christ in mind. Hopefully it will rub off on some people.

                    Plus, being an "active Catholic" makes it more impressive when I tell the Archdiocese I won't be donating to them this year because of the fact that the American Council of Bishops has refused to condemn our illegal war, the immoral tax cuts, or politicians who promote capital punishment, even though Pope John Paul II spoke out against all of these things on a frequent basis.

                    congratulations on your foreskin -- osteriser

                    by bartman on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 01:09:44 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  I'm a natural pessimist (none)
            but I do think we are going to win this one in my lifetime. We are certainly winning the generational war -- nobody under 30 worries gay marriage, even if nominally rightwing.

            Meanwhile, we have to fight holding actions, such as Massachusetts and also the upcoming California initiative. That one should be interesting -- will Arnold plump down against gay equality? Probably.  

        •  Don't forget (none)
          there were (perhaps even still are) cultures that viewd homosexuality as an advantage (or certainly normal) (I belive some native american tribes thought it gave warriors an advantage).

          Now it appears that it's only in the "god" and "Christ" driven cultures that homosexuality is an issue...

  •  I wonder if Dobson (none)
    has organized these "family" groups in every state. I just received a brochure from a new "family" org in Fla - sponsored by Dobson.

    Bush is NOT America!

    by annefrank on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 11:22:37 PM PST

  •  it's coming in WI too (none)
    Wisconsin also has an upcoming vote on it in Nov.  It's passed the state senate and I'm not sure if it's gotten past the house yet but it will.  Makes me sick thinking about it.

    I re-did my website! See how pretty DailyGranola.com is now.

    by OrangeClouds115 on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 11:29:25 PM PST

  •  Our finest weapon (4.00)
    will be the very fact that gay marriage will have existed for a few years in Mass. before the anti-gay marriage amendment comes up.  In other words, when they launch this effort in 2008, we'll have a few years of boring, run-of-the-mill gay and lesbian couples who somehow didn't bring about the apocalypse.  

    What those boring, run-of-the-mill gay and lesbian couples need to do now is make themselves as widely known in the state as possible.  By that, I don't mean marches or protests so much as the mundane act of living openly - letting their neighbors and coworkers see how they live.  

    It sounds like such a small thing, but after 2, 3 years of this, it'll be that much harder for these outside forces to make strong claims about the dangers of gay marriage.  It's one thing to get people riled up about "what would happen" if gay marriage ever passed... it's another thing to ask people to reverse the decision and still have to face their friends and neighbors.

    Believe me: I don't underestimate how powerful these outside forces are.  They are well-funded, they are tenacious, and they are brutal.  But nothing takes the wind out of outrage like turning it into a quotidian ho-hum.

    •  you are very right about that (4.00)
      That things are pretty much the same as they were before, except that a few more people are happier in thier lives -- made a lot of pols think twice about "taking away" rights once granted.

      Same sex marriage in practice, is a lot different than the way it was presented as a parade of horrors by both the protestant and catholic wings of the religious right in the state.

    •  Poll data.... (none)
      ....backs up your theory, I think. I think something around 50-55% of people in Massachusetts want to keep same sex marriage. Maybe more people.
      •  My father -- for an example ... (4.00)
        Life long Bay Stater here ...

        My father was very against the original decision.  While his arguments were weak, he just fell into the older generation's feeling that "Marriage = Man + Women". No other logic need apply.

        However, a funny thing has happened since May of 2004.  The world didn't change, stop or explode.  And, it turns out gays getting married didn't demean his own marriage - even though that was the rallying cry from the anti-gay side.  Further, my father (a college professor) works with 2 gay people who are now married. Recently, my wife attended gay wedding.

        My Dad is just an average Joe, living in a small town in the north central Mass. Yet, in less than two years even he has realized that gay marriage has become a norm. We have talked about the subject - and he has come full circle.  He just doesn't see it as an issue anymore.

        One other note:

        In 2004 Romney recruited House and Senate candidates to run on anti-gay agenda in an effort to pick up GOP seats at the State House.  They all lost - all of them.  If fact, the GOP lost seats in both houses.  

        So, I'm not surprised at those poll numbers at all.

        •  A lot of the opposition to gay marriage (4.00)
          is like that: shallow-rooted and quite easily overcome.

          Speaking as a member of the older generation who remembers accepting the attitudes of society in the bad old days forty years ago only because I didn't know any better, it's worth remembering that not every voter against gay marriage in all those amendments last year was a seething hate-filled bigot. Many of them were just reluctant to accept change.

          Once they see that their world doesn't really change, except that life has become better for some people they know and like, suddenly it's not an issue anymore.

          Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

          by Canadian Reader on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 07:38:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And in addition.... (none)
            ....a lot of people don't like to think of themselves as hateful or bigots. Even if you ask a bunch of gay marriage opponents if they think it's okay to fire someone from their job for being gay, they'd say "no, of course not!" (well, the more casual opponents, not the Dobsonian fanatics). The issue of marriage just makes these more casual opponents think of the Catholic or Protestant church they grew up in being forced to perform same-sex marriages and that just doesn't sit well with them. I think the sooner they know that it's not going to be like that, the sooner they'll realize that same sex marriage is just about equality and freedom and not the downfall of society.
    •  asdf (4.00)
      Just imagine a typical day of one of these evil gay marriages. They get up in the morning and have a bowl of oatmeal, feed the cat, and drive to work. At lunch, they ponder the fateful decision: do they brave the cafeteria, or do they venture forth from the workplace to dine at the buffet? After work, they drive home, pick up the mail and shovel the snow from the sidewalk. Then they put the meatloaf in the oven, and watch the news. The timer goes off, they sit at the dining room table, and they have their meatloaf, with a side of corn. One of them has a healthy glass of milk, the other chooses to drink a cola. With their meal finished, they discuss what to do with the remainder of their evening. Shall they watch the Celtics game? Or shall they watch the DVD that they purchased but never got around to watching? Whichever choice they make, at the end of the evening, they feed the cat again, brush their teeth, and go to bed, and continue it all over again the next day.
    •  All the same, (none)
      We can't be complacent. After all, they said the same about women's rights, and now look what has happened--the right has reframed the argument, especially in the area of abortion and now birth control.
      •  Absolutely agree (none)
        And when 2008 comes, I envision a series of TV commercials showing families staring at the camera, looking sad and holding their children closely, with a voiceover saying, "We are your friends.  We are your neighbors.  We are your coworkers.  We are your family.  Please don't tear our families apart." (close up of a wide-eyed, puffy-cheeked, sad child).

        Total schmaltz, but effective.

    •  Sorry.... (none)
      ...people in Idaho, Nebraska, and Ohio have no intention of looking at the evidence. They will just see the flyer with Paul and Steve kissing and go absolutely bonkers and ballistic. The will JAB the touch screen no, no, no, no, no, as they give away social security, pensions, free speech and plunge us into eternal wars for the military industrial complex.

      I'm gay as a goose. Gay marriage is the LEAST of our worries. Ready to lose again in 2006? Yeah, just get this going. Liberals and Progressives will never win until the sober up and realize what they are up against.

      "What luck for rulers that men do not think." - Adolf Hitler

      by Bensdad on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 09:49:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are wrong (none)
        Even the galloots have relatives, neighbors co-workers,friends kids, perhaps their own, Who Are Gay!!  You cannot be hate filled and vile forever against your own.  Most people are not evil and will vote in favour, eventually, of the loved one.  This scenario has converted a whole generation in my family.
      •  I'm sorry (none)
        if you're content to use the waterfountain out back for the rest of your life.  I am not.  Like the poster above me, I've converted a lot of people - friends, family, and coworkers -  towards voting positively on gay issues just by being out.  You can talk to me about "gay marriage being the LEAST of our worries" when you have a loved one you can't visit in the hospital.  Actually, even better: email that poor woman in New Jersey who was denied her partner's pension.  I'm sure they'll commiserate.
  •  I'm a bit skeptical (none)

    My sense is that the war has moved on and California is the central front now.  New York is close to legalizing during the next year or so.  Those are the 800-lb gorillas as far as the Religious Right is concerned.  California legalizing is close to a lethal undermining of the central, gender absolutist, doctrine of the LDS church.

    I don't see the numbers in polling that gets a gay marriage ban through on the referendum.  As for the state legislature, they'll get 60-70 votes the first time around.  I don't see good odds for a second passage, though: that chunk of the House (the Senate is almost perfect about gm) is in fairly rapid attrition via resignations, retirements, primary challenges, and ass-saving changes of mind.  Next November's elections look to reinforce the trend, imho.

    Renewal, not mere Reform.

    by killjoy on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 12:02:42 AM PST

    •  CA is current (none)
      MA is down the road. It will be a real battle no matter what may happen elsewhere.
    •  california (4.00)
      I agree that defeating the 2006 referendums in California is the next urgent priority for the movement. It is a state where we can win and where we must win. A loss there (destroying the domestic partnership laws currently in effect) would be devastating. A win could give us some momentum.

      Win or lose in California, the vote in 2008 in Mass. will be great if we won. I think we'd have a good chance of winning there, and it would be the first time people would vote in a referendum to support gay marriage. It would be scary, but winning would mean so much.

      I'm not sure about NY. The only route for change would be the courts and I doubt they'll follow Mass's example. I don't think there's much chance of anything changing in Albany -- Joe Bruno and the Republican State Senate are opposed, but even if the Dems. take over the Senate in 2006 (hard task), Shelley Silver, the Dem leader of the assembly, is also firmly opposed to gay marriage. Spitzer (our probable next gov) is pro-marriage rights, but he won't be pushing the issue because he has presidential ambitions. So unless Silver retires, I don't see that changing for a while. Hope I'm wrong.

      •  Exactly...... (none)
        ....California has the most progressive and INCREDIBLE domestic partnership law of any state, and most countries! It guarantees absolute parity with marriage in terms of rights and responsibilities. We should have tried to achieve THIS nationwide, state by state, instead of reaching for the whole enchilada.

        The Domestic Partnership Act confers property rights, rights of inheritance, hospital visitation rights, and even, in a very complex way, parental rights. Nothing is left out except "I do".

        For right now, we need to understand that the government has been taken over by fascists who are spiriting people away to secret prisons. They rent journalists in this country and in foreign countries. They gave a $250 million contract FOR PROPAGANDA in Iraq. They own a major cable news network -- the most popular one. They have guns. The military and police are worshipped, worshipped!

        Don't march Paul and Steve up to the steps of the Reichstag and demand a marriage license right now.

        "What luck for rulers that men do not think." - Adolf Hitler

        by Bensdad on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 09:56:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It would be (none)
      expecially high profile because of who the senators from Massachusetts are. If the hate mongers could get through antigay legislation, they could say, "Nyah, nyah, Teddy Kennedy and John Kerry--liberals!"

      There is no more staunch defender of civil liberties than an indicted Republican.

      by Mnemosyne on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 08:30:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Judge Catterson (none)

      Bloomberg offers support on gay marriage
      Ann Rostow, PlanetOut Network
      Friday, December 9, 2005

      The court agreed, handing down a boilerplate anti-marriage decision of about eight pages, backed by a longer concurrence by Judge James M. Catterson, and a powerful dissent by Judge David B. Saxe.

      Catterson's concurrence was redolent with disdain for the concept of same-sex marriage, and at times ridiculed the arguments for equality. In a particularly mystifying passage discussing the 1967 Supreme Court case that ended restrictions on interracial marriage, Catterson wrote that the two questions could not be logically compared.

      "The statute struck down in [Loving v. Virginia] . . . prohibited marriages between members of DIFFERENT races, not members of the SAME race," he wrote. "The equivalent, in the area of sex, of an anti-miscegenation statute would not be a statute prohibiting SAME-sex marriages, but one prohibiting OPPOSITE-sex marriages, an absurdity which no state has ever contemplated."

      Actually, they are the equivalent.  Miscegenation laws prevented a person from marrying another person due to a physical characteristics.  Only if the statute had required an Asian-American to marry an African-American, for example, would his argument have made the point he was intending.

  •  I does affect me personally (4.00)
    I am not gay, nor anyone in my family.
    My best friends are not gay.

    But I am human and so are those whose rights we are talking about.

    I have never figured out why I am worthier to marry because the person I love has a different kind of genitalia then I do.

    One thing we know for sure is that straight people are the threat to straight marriages.

    Michigan had this vote, discrimination passed in all cities but two. Mine is one of the two but that doesn't help. The added on words also stripped gay couples of each others health insurance.

    I didn't see one ad against the bill here, no organized effort. Lack of funding?  
    If the bill had failed it would not have legalized married, even bigots gained nothing by its passing except the chance to express their bigotry.

    We all lost a lot. We used our vote to insult people who do the voters no harm at all.

  •  We need to take the offensive (4.00)
    I don't think that stating the obvious points about marriage equality being a matter of simple fairness or of equal rights will sway those voters who might otherwise vote for this ballot measure, sadly.

    Instead, I suspect that the more effective tactic will be to demonize the opposition.  Two faces:  James Dobson and Bernard Law.  This battle should be drawn as one between the forces of bigotry and hypocrisy on the one hand, and appealing same-sex couples, preferably with children, in stable happy households.  Massachusetts voters (I used to be one) will not vote for bigots and hatred, if that is their choice.

    -4.50, -5.85 "To initiate a war of aggression is ... the supreme international crime." ---Nuremberg Tribunal

    by Dallasdoc on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 04:48:40 AM PST

  •  Since Romney is running for President (none)
    There is going to be a money magnet for exactly the sort of people that Fredrick describes.
    •  Romney isn't going to be running from MA (none)
      Chances are, he's going to run from Michigan or Utah.  After spending so much time claiming to be a long-time resident of MA, I'm betting dollars to donuts he runs for Pres as a resident of Utah.

      Former Gov Weld is now claiming to be 100% New Yorker now that he's running for Gov there.  

  •  legislature (none)
    the legislature needs to pass this in 2 concurrent sessions you say.  

    there was some issue about gay marriage where last year they passed an anti-gay marriage measure and then this year it failed by the same amount it won by last year.  was this the same thing you are talking about or was it something else?  if something else, since that failed to pass twice, what are the chances this will?

    .-. . ..-. . .-. / - --- / - .... . / --- .-. .. --. .. -. .- .-.. / -.. --- - ... / .- -. -.. / -.. .- ... .... . ...

    by delphis on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 05:11:52 AM PST

    •  It's a different thing (none)
      The original anti-gay marriage measure originated in the legislature; thus, it needed more votes than this ballot-initative does, because this originated from the people.

      Under the MA Constitution, a petition like this needs only 1/4 of the legislature (i.e. 50) in two successive sessions to get it to a state-wide ballot.

      This is likely, but I still think the measure will fail. Even people against gay marriage are now skeptical of changing the status quo and taking away marriages that have existed for several years (since this measure wouldn't be on the ballot until 2008).

      Democrats will fight for a Renewed Deal with the American people.

      by Hoyapaul on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 06:33:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually... (none)
        The really weird part of this latest attempt to overturn gay marriage is that those same-sex couples who got/get married WILL CONTINUE to be married in Massachusetts--even if the ballot initiative passes.

        This whole thing stinks of catholic interference in a political process.

        And leading the charge is that dino Ray Flynn, former mayor of Boston and former ambassador to the Vatican.

        •  I wish to be clear... (none)
          The initiative petition says the following:

          "When recognizing marriages entered into after the adoption of this amendment by the people, the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall define marriage only as the union of one man and one woman."

          meaning that already married same-sex couples will continue to be married even if this petition succeeds.

          How screwed up is that?

          •  Of course (none)
            you are correct about the current wording of the intiative petition (I had had in mind the original, stronger, language).

            This kinda destroys the argument that gay marriage will "destroy 'true' marriage", doesn't it? If that were true, why wouldn't they want to ban all gay marriage?

            Democrats will fight for a Renewed Deal with the American people.

            by Hoyapaul on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 07:08:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  "How screwed up is that?" (none)
            In terms of them trying to get this passed, it's not screwed up, though it is an insight into how screwed up people's thinking can be.  

            I think the folks who wrote this are guessing -- correctly, in my opinion -- that many people who oppose same-sex marriage would be reluctant to take a part in actively dissolving already-existing marriages.  It is, indeed, screwed up that some people can simultaneously consider it a bad thing to dissolve an already existing marriage but a good thing to prevent the same exact marriage in the first place.  Same-sex marriage opponents want to maximize support for the measure, hence the grandfather clause.

            Opposition to same-sex marriage isn't exactly based in rationality.  This is just a piece of that.

            Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

            by Bearpaw on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 07:38:12 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  From the MFA website's Q and A section (4.00)
              found here: (my emphasis)

              Q: Why are the homosexual marriages that have already taken place not nullified by this amendment?

              A: Massachusetts is unique in that it is the only state in which homosexual marriages have been allowed. Under Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution, it is nearly impossible to retroactively revoke rights that have been granted by judicial decree or legislative act. Any amendment attempting to dissolve the existing marriages would most likely be successfully challenged under federal law. Furthermore, legislators that are with us on marriage are certain that any amendment nullifying current homosexual marriages would be "dead on arrival" in the State House. Finally, the amendment does not recognize or endorse the existing marriages.

              They want to make damned sure this time that the judiciary is kept from ruling on this measure, too.

              Any insight on who they mean by "legislators who are with us"? Let's make a target list. Now.

              Also, note that the MFI is attempting to blur what they're doing - and at the same time pitting the elderly and disabled against gays - by pledging to work for something that they're calling "reciprocal beneficiary" legislation that they say is more just than "discriminatory" civil unions, as outlined in MFI President Kris Mineau's remarks at a press conference at the Massachusetts State House on June 16, 2005: (again, emphasis mine)

              "Our third objective is to address the needs of all citizens across the Commonwealth who are in mutually-dependent adult relationships that are ineligible for marriage. We believe Civil Unions to be discriminatory because they provide benefits only to a small segment of the population based on sexual preference, while there are many other citizens needing benefits who are in a non-sexual relationship. An example would be two elderly sisters living together, an uncle caring for a disabled nephew, or even adults taking care of elderly parents.

              Upon approval of our initiative petition by the Attorney General, we will work with the legislature to introduce, "reciprocal beneficiary" legislation. The state of Hawaii adopted reciprocal beneficiary legislation in 1997 providing benefits such as:

              • Hospital visitation and medical decision-making
              • Survivorship and funeral rights
              • Durable power of attorney for health care and terminal care documents
              • Legal standing relation to wrongful death and victim's rights and
              • Auto insurance coverage.

              Reciprocal beneficiary legislation is non-discriminatory and serves all citizens equally.

              This bunch of hypocritical haters have a lot of gall accusing gay activists of pushing "discriminatory" legislation--another way of calling marriage rights and civil unions "special rights."

              That's like saying repealing Jim Crow laws was discriminatory to whites because the legislation used to repeal it was designed to only benefit blacks.

              Well, DUH!

              •  Take that with a grain of salt (none)
                Under Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution, it is nearly impossible to retroactively revoke rights that have been granted by judicial decree or legislative act. Any amendment attempting to dissolve the existing marriages would most likely be successfully challenged under federal law.
                _______

                Yeah, right.

                Forgive me if I am not confident that would be true.  I turned 19 in 1985, and I was able to legally drink.  On December 1, 1985, New York raised the age to 21, and had to wait another 13 months to be legal again.  If this were truly the case, I should have been grandfathered instead of having to go to Vermont to get my brewskis.

          •  As screwed as the RCC (none)
            "How screwed up is that?"

            About as screwed up as denying out but chaste gay men enter the priesthood, but continuing to allow closeted gay men to remain priests.

          •  How constitutional is that? (none)
            This measure permanently denies rights to people born after 1990 -- those who reach the legal marriage age after the Amendment goes into effect in 2008-- that are permitted for people born before 1990.

            How is that remotely constitutional?

            •  That is an interesting arguement. (none)
              It creates seperate classes of people. Those who got married within a certain timetable and those who didn't regardless of birthdate.

              my partner and I are still discussing whether to get state sanctioned marriage. As we get closer to a 2008 vote that might ban it will probally make us (should say me) take the plunge.

    •  O/T Delphis (none)
      your sig's got me confused.

      which original dots and dashes?

  •  Question for Frederick (none)
    If I remember correctly, the recent vote in the legislature turned up a better result for marriage equality than did the previous vote.

    We also have one of the most vocal opponents of marriage equality retiring from the legislature.

    I'm wondering if you think it's possible to make the 2006 legislative races a choke point; to target races where we can get those friendly to marriage equality in a position to defeat those who would vote to put the anti-equality language on the 2008 ballot.

    I'm now in Massachusetts again, and I would be willing to attend a bloggers' conclave just on this issue if it were held anywhere within an hour or so of Boston. I don't think you've overstated the importance of the coming fight, and therefore, I think it might be a good idea for bloggers in the state to come together to strategize face-to-face.

  •  Kerry? (none)
    So, will Kerry sit quietly in the background and keep his mouth shut, or will he be out fighting for the ban? If he's smart he will do the former, otherwise he can kiss any chance of getting another shot at the big job as a Democrat.
    If he comes out vocally in support of the gay marriage ban I think he might even jeopardize his senate seat. I guess this will tell us a lot about the jr. senator.
    •  State issues (none)
      Federal Dems found a "safe harbor" in the 10th Amendment, saying this is a state matter.

      Know what? They're right. And making a go/no-go decision on war is a federal issue.

      Let's keep our state folks and federal folks focused on doing what they do best and affecting that which they can and should affect. It's the extreme right wing that wants to ignore the Constitution, beginning with Bush v Gore, the greatest smear on "equal protection" as law in judicial history. Don't sign up for that same approach out of a knee-jerk reaction.

      Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who will watch the watchers?)

      by The Crusty Bunker on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 06:34:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not sure we disagree (none)
        My comment is based on the fact that Kerry has come out vocally in favor of a state constitutional ban. It is not at all unusual for the Federal reps to make their positions on state issues well known, both Schumer and Clinton regulary weigh in on NY state issues, as do Kennedy and Kerry regarding Ma. state ones.
        There is no question that if Kerry does indeed weigh in on the Ma. state ban that it will, and in my opinion should, affect how he is viewed by Democrats on a national level. Equal rights is a national issue even when the battleground is a state.
        •  You are right; we do agree (none)
          Kerry has a MA citizen's right to speak out on a state issue (as do Clinton and Shumer in NY) but their opinion carries much more weight and also reflects on their positions in their federal offices.

          Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who will watch the watchers?)

          by The Crusty Bunker on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 08:00:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Kerry wouldn't help himself or us.... (none)
      ....he has no credibility and his voice barely carries past Beacon Street.

      "What luck for rulers that men do not think." - Adolf Hitler

      by Bensdad on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 09:59:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lessons from Maine (4.00)
    In Maine we were able to defeat a similar hate referendum recently. That was somewhat different than Mass. in that the issue was discrimination - not marriage. What tipped the balance in our favor was testimony and reports from gay people who had been victims of discrimination in Maine.  That appealed to the voters basic sense of fairness.  

    Dialog macht Sinn / Dialogue makes sense

    by DowneastDem on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 05:57:48 AM PST

  •  Glad to see you here- (none)
    Congratulations again on your Talk to Action site, I hope lots of Kossacks find their way there to check out the amazing people and resources you have put together to illuminate the workings of the religious right.  You and your colleagues there are heroes.

    OT, but I messed up on registering at your site somehow and can't get an e-mail back about my password...I want to let you know about an excellent hour long discussion on Michigan Public Radio about 'How separate do our political and religious institutions need to be?'I've been very impressed by the new Jack Lessenberry Show and this one was so good.  I may be overreacting here given the source, but toward the end of the show, when he was back on his heels because of the excellent arguments by the other guests, Rev. Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition snarled that opponents of the religious right's incursion into law and government were, paraphrasing, in for a great surprise when Alito is confirmed as a Supreme Court justice. Given that we have learned that the religious right is informed about Supreme Court nominations before our Democratic leaders, I wonder if extremists like Sheldon have been given assurances about Alito that we should know about.  If you have time or inclination to listen here is the link:

    http://jackshow.blogs.com/...
    It's the December 6th entry.  Sorry about this OT long post, I felt I should get this out there.

    Be humble, for you are made of earth. Be noble, for you are made of stars. Serbian Proverb

    by station wagon on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 06:04:03 AM PST

  •  Exposing them as outside infiltrants (4.00)
    will help shape public opinion here in Massachusetts.  Many "centrist-independent" types did NOT appreciate Mitt Romney getting into power here -- they regard him as a carpet-bagger.

    The more we can do (to the extent of accuracy) to illustrate that there's an external force of hate coming into Massachusetts, the better.  More people here than you might think, will want to put a native stake in the ground and say "No: I resist that".

    Personally I was involved in the State House rallies last time and I'll be there again!  I am 6'4" tall and can hold up a very large sign for LONG LONG time....

  •  Hm... (4.00)
    Interesting, and I'll keep my eyes and ears open for anything that grabs my attention.

    I was thinking about this last night, this whole issue of "rights" - gay rights (marriage and otherwise), minority rights, reproductive rights, etc.  I think a concerted and credible effort to paint the Republican party as a party that sits back and judges how many rights an average person should have, based on a value judgment as to the "fitness" of their lifestyle and beliefs, is one that needs to be made.  The conflict is obvious:

    • Gays - No real rights, and certainly not marriage rights based on the value judgment that "gay" is "wrong".
    • Reproductive rights - Feel free to exercise the right to reproduce but not to use birth control, educate others on the use of birth control, or (gasp) discuss, contemplate or have an abortion.
    • Religious rights - As long as you're Christian, the world is your oyster.  No exceptional rights for non-Christian religions or atheists.
    • Illegal immigrant rights - They get everything that other groups are denied.  In-state tuition is a topical example.  Illegal immigrants in some states qualify for in-state tuition at State universities when legal, out-of-state studients do not.
    • Health care rights - You can have these if you can afford them.  If not, you're out of luck.

    I guess it just seems so obvious to me that vast groups of people are being discriminated against on the basis of a value judgment as to their "fitness".  What happened to rights extended to US citizens on the basis of the fact that they are US citizens, everything else excepted??

    Sorry - a bit off topic.  Great diary and something about which we need to be aware.

    HEY - why haven't you visited my blog?

    by RenaRF on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 06:31:21 AM PST

  •  Identify legislators likely to vote yes (none)
    Line up for them a primary opponent and a general election opponent.

    Don't forget targeted third party candidates appropriate to splitting their vote in the general election.

  •  Unitarians (none)
    All organizations working toward marriage rights should be aware that some churches are with you.  The Unitarian Association in Boston has a humam rights arm that fought and demonstrated valiently for the cause.  The United Church of Christ is also very liberal on this subject.

    Emphasis should be placed on organizing younger voters to get to the polls.  They are already in favor of marriage rights so they don't need to be persuaded.  They just need to be gotten out of bed on election day.

    My rep on Cape Cod was originally against gay marriage but has also come full circle in the past two years.  Don't be so sure that the amendment will get the 50 votes needed two years in a row.

    I hope more states approve of gay marriage before this comes up again here in Massachusetts.  It will go a long way toward making it a progressive movement with feet.

    •  Principles (none)
      Our First Principle states We affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

      Our Second Principle states We affirm and promote Justice, equity and compassion in human relations

      So, it's only natural that we fight for human rights and equality for all.

      The headquarters of the Unitarian Universalist Association (two "U"s) is right next door to the MA State House, and during the first ConCon had a big banner hanging outside.  Beautiful juxtaposition!

      Oh yeah- and seven of the 14 people involved in the MA lawsuit that brought equality to MA are Unitarian Universalist.

       

      Have you added yourself to the map? http://www.frappr.com/dailykos

      by brillig on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 09:28:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pro-gay-marriage Catholics (none)
    There's a group that I've been getting emails from called Roman Catholics for the Freedom to Marry.  They're based in Massachusetts.
  •  What I don't understand... (none)
    is how we handle marriages from other countries. Are they granted equal status here? This is a request for a legal understanding, if anyone knows.

    For instance:  a Canadian same sex couple gets married in Canada (or any of the other countries where it is legal).  They come to the US because one partner gets a job here.  The other partner needs the spousal immigration status.  Is their marriage not legal?  Are all Canadian marriages not legal?  Can that stand in the courts?  

    Another instance: a sheik in Saudi Arabia marries 4 women.  He comes to the US for medical treatment accompanied by wife #2.  She wants to be in the hospital with him, getting updates on his condition.  Is that legal?  Or is their marriage void here?

    I really just don't understand how we treat non-US marriages.  What is the law?

    •  hmmm... (none)
      I know the same sex marrige is not treated as a marriage in the US, on any Federal issue espcially immigration. But does it fall afoul of any international treaties?

      bigamy, the Saudi example is also not considered marrige here.

      •  Yes (none)
        My boyfriend is Thai and cannot rely on me to sponsor him with regard to getting his citizeship.

        So he has to rely on his family (his stepfather is American; mother is Thai).  He is living with his family and just got his Green Card, so he is here legally, but if we were to move to Massachusetts and subsequently got married, we have been told by people who would know that we could really screw up his chances for citizenship.

    •  Other countries? What about here at home? (none)
      IIRC (and please correct me if I am wrong) several states have passed legislation that allows for non-recognition of same-sex marriages. What if a same-sex couple is travelling, and something requiring medical action, or power-of-attorney, etc. happens? Will that person's (legal in MA) spouse not be allowed to act?

      I know several states have a clause similar to this in anti-same-sex legislation that they have passed (I'm at work & in the middle of something so I'll try to look for links later), which violates the Full Faith & Creit clause in the Constitution, I think...

      What then?

      •  It hasn't been an issue before (none)
        because we haven't had gay marriage before.  But you're right: DOMA allows states to ignore the rights granted by other states, so a couple traveling through a homophobic state had better hope that neither lands in the hospital there.

        Although: the first time this happens, you can bet there will be a court case challenging the constitutionality of DOMA, which is what a lot of gay rights activists have been banking on.  

    •  Isn't it great? (none)
      I mean, now married gay people from other countries have to GIVE UP RIGHTS in order to move to the US.  

      Fun.

      I feel like I'm taking crazy pills! The AA stands for Ann Arbor.

      by Matt in AA on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 10:31:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I believe (none)
      in the second instance (the Saudi) the marriage would be recognized under those circumstances that you described, since the woman would in fact be his wife and there would be no real reason to challenge that status.  However if more than one wife were here it could cause problems.  If the same man moved here, he could not have all of those marriages recognized, only one.  I don't think the order in which the marriages took place determines anything however.

      As to your first point, I am gay and was married to my partner in Canada, and now live in a red state.  Our marriage has nearly zero legal weight here, other than a basis for lawsuits perhaps, but I presume some states will come to recognize it (including some that don't perform same-sex marriages). Now, if DOMA where overturned there could be a case to force recognition of Canadian same-sex marriages (since we automatically recognize heterosexual Canandian marriages already).

  •  Need national strategy for ballot initiatives (none)
    Wingnuts used them well last outing to stoke  reactionary turnout.

    There needs to be a national strategic response.

    Where is that discussion?

  •  Iowa will face (none)
    this again in the state legislature.  the House Republican leaders will try to pass it, but they only have 51 votes in their caucus, but there are probably 2-4 votes in the Democratic caucus.  The senate is 25-25 now, so it won't come up, but it will a be a huge campaign issue next November.  

    Iowa democrats have a good chance to take control of both chambers, but this issue will be a huge rallying cry for the wingers.  Plus, our first int he nation caucuses (?) will make the new republican hopefuls toe the line on gay marriage.  It could be an interesting issue in Iowa, adn I would bet will get as much work from Dobson as MA.

  •  I believe this is a fight that will be won (none)
    I think the forces of progressivism will win out in this fight.  While I do not advocate complacency, I do take solice in the mitigating effect that actually having marriage equality has had on the forces of intolerance in Massachusetts.  I remember a poll that came out when the state courts first mandated marriage equality that showed the state pretty evenly divided.  As you can see, that number has shifted greatly:

    http://lesbianlife.about.com/...

  •  So fucking idiotic (none)
    There's an obvious solution that should be acceptable to everyone:

    (1) Government out of the marriage business.

    (2) Government remains in the civil contract between two people business.

    (3) If you want to get married under your religion, and your religion says that you qualify under whatever potentially bigotted rules that they choose to apply, go for it.  You can also get a civil contract from the government, if you so choose.

    (4) If you want to get a civil contract from the government, go for it.  You can also get married under your religion, if you choose and if your religion says that you qualify under whatever potentially bigotted rules that they choose to apply.

    There's an obvious corresponding analogy that already exists, and which no one considers controversial:

    There is no such thing, in certain Christian faiths, as "divorce".  You cannot possibly be "divorced" in such faiths.  You got married under them, they consider you forever married.

    But that doesn't change the fact that your civil contract has been nullified.

    •  But the MFI wants to outlaw civil unions (none)
      in Massachusetts as well. Read my post above or go to the Mass. Family Institute website.

      They are on record as claiming civil unions are "discriminatory" because they supposedly exclude couples that are "ineligible for marriage" but who are living together in a "non-sexual" relationship, like two elderly women (I guess there's no such thing as an elderly lesbian couple!) or a handicapped person and his/her caretaker.

      As always, the ick factor is what drives these bigots, as evidenced by their use of the term "non-sexual."

      This isn't about rights. It's about what goes on (or doesn't) in the privacy of the bedroom.

      •  The whole point (none)
        They are on record as claiming civil unions are "discriminatory" because they supposedly exclude couples that are "ineligible for marriage" but who are living together in a "non-sexual" relationship, like two elderly women (I guess there's no such thing as an elderly lesbian couple!) or a handicapped person and his/her caretaker.

        The whole point is that the governmental civil contract and the religious ceremony should be utterly distinct things.  Under that view, "ineligible for marriage" is not relevant to the governmental civil contract in the first place.

        If a handicapped person and his/her caretaker want, for some wacky reason, to sign a governmental civil contract stating that they're going to pay taxes together, adopt each others' kids, pay for each other's sustenance, and so forth, more power to them.

        And if their church wants to deny them from being "married", more power to their church.

        -- E pur si muove.

        by asdfasdf on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 10:46:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They're trying to pre-empt (none)
          any civil union proposals, while blurring the issue itself with this triangulatory sop to well-meaning voters, by framing their Crusade Against the Evil Homasechtooals (tm) as a positive thing.

          The LAST thing this gang wants is for the legislature to adopt a Vermont-style compromise of separate civil and religious marriage. That would rob them of more power -- or an excuse to cry victim if things don't go their way.

    •  Oh, should it? (none)
      To bad it isn't acceptable to everyone.  Or, for that matter, anyone but a few insular libertarians.

      There is no reason for the government to get "out of the marriage business."  Especially when "get out of the marriage business" effectively means "rename marriage so that anti-gay bigots don't have to associate their unions with queers and so that anti-religious bigots don't have to associate their unions with Jesus freaks."  

      Bigots will not be satisfied with anything other than the misery of the targets of their bigotry.  Anti-gay bigots won't be satisfied until every same-sex union is effectively meaningless.  A change of name won't do that, so it won't satisfy them.

      •  Yes there is (none)
        There is no reason for the government to get "out of the marriage business."

        Marriage as a religious sacrament, of course there is.

        If you want to call what I'm calling the government's civil contract "marriage", that's fine with me.  But it's distinct the various "marriages" of various religions..

        -- E pur si muove.

        by asdfasdf on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 04:47:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  That won't be acceptable to the RWCF (none)
      They want gays and lesbians to disappear.  They want the fantasy they imagine existed in the 1950s to be reality.  I really believe they wouldn't be satisfied unless all GLIT are dead, and bisexuals chose to be straight.
  •  No way... (none)
    ...is this going to fly in Mass. Gay marriage as a political issue is dead, dead, dead here. I just cannot see the state voting to outlaw gay marriage after it's been the law for four years with absolutely zero impact.

    Not to get complacent, and I as a Mass citizen am going to fight this thing tooth and nail, but I'm confident that this thing is going to go down to a glorious flaming defeat.

    •  I hope you are right. (none)
      but I am afriad of what will happen if it is on the ballot. people who are not that concerned about it might still feel ' Well its there on the ballot and I kind off don't approve, ...."
  •  The ads are there, the rest will folow (none)
    Just listenin to sports radio up here and almostevery break there is an ad looking for support in the battle against gay marriage...they say to look for the airplane banners too...
  •  If marriage equality is sustained in MA, (none)
    people will realize that it is no big deal and that the sky is not ging to fall down. But if the FMA passes or voters in MA vote for this amendment, the road will be far more difficult.

    Remember the uproar when VT instituted civil unions? Today, there is a majority favoring either marriage or civil unions, even in the South. Attitudes are changing, not only in the US but everywhere in the world.

    It is important to tread carefully, not to overreach, or the progress already made could be endangered.

  •  ballot Q for recommendation? (none)
    I remember a few years back in MA, we had a ballot question for the decriminalization of mariuana.  It overwhelmingly passed in favor of decrim, yet there was nothing done with the laws.  We came to find out that this was just a "recommendation" to legislators who, in their superior wisdom, decided not to heed that recommendation.  The same for this ballot intiative?  Just a recommendation?
  •  There won't be a storm here (4.00)
    if I have anything to do with it. 2004 was my first legitimate chance to vote, and 2008 is going to be my first legitimate chance to get out the vote.

    I suggest that you all do the same. :-)

  •  Ah, the Christian Civic League (none)
    I remember them well.

    Is Jasper Wyman, the pudgy, balding twerp who ran ine very election pisible, stilla round? He was remarkably silent from 2001 to 2003 when we were stationed at NAS Bruncswick  the second time.

    The man is practically a parody of a fundy hypocrite.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 02:34:46 PM PST

  •  Hm a little related (none)
    Now that Rommney is out of the Govenors race who will the Republicans put up?

    "please don't lie to me my Govt. does enough of that" -Aaron Hayes.

    by dieharddemocrat on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 06:01:14 PM PST

  •  Massachusetts Press Contacts? (none)
    Someplace on one progressive blog or another--I misplaced the link--there is a truly superb list of press contacts that would be of great benefit to anyone attempting to keep Massachusetts where it belongs, where it is now, leading the nation on this issue.  Can someone here provide a link to that location?
Meteor Blades, Leslie in CA, Devin, AP, Alumbrados, AustinSF, Drew, zzyzx, NohoMissives, Dissento, Stirling Newberry, Go Vegetarian, Marek, SteveLCo, coral, IdiotSavant, Phoenix Woman, VAdem, randompost, lightiris, lolorb, Kelk, Rayne, georgiacmt, casamurphy, chassler, gogol, human, 2pt5cats, Erasmus, TrueBlueMajority, Powered Grace, tiponeill, emal, stumpy, janinsanfran, Maryscott OConnor, jjc4jre, ortcutt, kerry, Wintermute, cotterperson, bramish, Ralfast, BryanRI, Troutfishing, John Campanelli, Mnemosyne, tryptamine, willyr, DemDachshund, x, Page van der Linden, Carnacki, object16, mataliandy, Political Junkie, Theodoric of York Medieval Liberal, Smallbottle, RubDMC, mrsdbrown1, ellisande, EricS, Mariposa, pondside, jem6x, bhlogger, lpackard, Welshman, snoopydog, ksh01, scamp, jenifera, mrblifil, AndyT, Dana in MN, javelina, sberel, Torta, michael1104, petewsh61, ragnark, Revel, Dallasdoc, MKS, crkrjx, Timoteo, kdrivel, cosette, Caldonia, Penny Century, 42, snakelass, btyarbro, Illegitimi non carborundum, Ascendent, osf, david blue, socal, RenaRF, 4jkb4ia, southernblues, deep6, stayingpositive, KateCrashes, plymouth, Lefty Mama, OrangeClouds115, Steven D, HK, rickeagle, kd texan, homogenius, bibble, Timroff, julifolo, sco08, Bluesee, Chris Kulczycki, liberal atheist, Elise, WildRice, Ari Mistral, station wagon, yogishan, ejsmom, Mz Kleen, GreyHawk, jcitybone, jme, annefrank, A Rational Being, kyle in philly, nittacci, NHabroad, Matt in AA, melvin, fhcec, fireq, yourhost, pico, PoppyRocks, PatsBard, aet, TalkieToaster

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