Homo More Marriage in Massachusetts
posted by June 15 at 10:22 AMon
To put a constitutional amendment before the voters in Massachusetts two consecutive legislatures had to vote to put it before the voters. Supporters of a ban on gay marriage only needed the voters of 50 of the 200 members of the Massachusetts legislature. Last year they got 62 votes. Yesterday they got just 45.
What changed the minds of legislators that voted for the ban last year and against it this year? Getting to know gay couples, gay couples that have adopted children, concern for gay grandkids, help with yard work, and the efforts of Massachusetts’ Democratic governor.
From the New York Times:
One legislator who switched his vote was Representative Paul Kujawski, Democrat of Uxbridge, saying meetings with gay and lesbian constituents convinced him that “I couldn’t take away the happiness those people have been able to enjoy.”
Senator Gale D. Candaras, a Democrat, voted against the amendment Thursday, although she had supported it as a state representative in January. Ms. Candaras said her vote reflected constituent views in her larger, more progressive Senate district and her fear of a vicious referendum campaign.
Most moving, she said, were older constituents who had changed their views after meeting gay men and lesbians. One woman had “asked me to put it on the ballot for a vote, but since then a lovely couple moved in,” Ms. Candaras said. “She said, ‘They help me with my lawn, and if there can’t be marriage in Massachusetts, they’ll leave and they can’t help me with my lawn.”
The Boston Globe published this statement from Gale Candaras, a Dem member of the legislature that switched her vote:
“Same gender couples have been adopting children and building families here in the Commonwealth for about twenty years. In many instances, same gendered couples have adopted children with severe challenges, children no one else wanted, and they have worked miracles with them. These children would have lived lives of despair without these families.
I have been most impressed by the number of individuals who have called me and asked me to change my vote because they have changed their minds. One grandmother told me she had changed her mind and wanted me to change my vote in case one of her grandchildren grew up to be gay or lesbian. She did not want any of her grandchildren to be denied the right to marry the person they love.”
And the governor of Massachusetts worked his ass off to prevent the ban from going to the ballot—so don’t let anyone tell you there’s “no difference” between Democrats and Republicans on the gay issue. Again, the NYT:
From the Boston Herald:
“In Massachusetts today, the freedom to marry is secure,” Gov. Deval Patrick said to roaring applause after the vote in the Constitutional Convention. “Today’s vote was not just a victory for marriage equality, it was a victory for equality itself.”
The ban’s defeat affirmed the status of gay marriage in the only state where it’s legal. The five-vote margin of victory brought a surprising and dramatic end to days of fierce lobbying by Patrick and legislative leaders. In total, 11 lawmakers switched sides to defeat the proposed ban, a sudden shift that shocked ban proponents who said they didn’t see it coming….
Murray, DiMasi and Patrick were lobbying until the final moments. All three said they were unsure of the outcome even as they gaveled the Constitutional Convention into session. “This was as close as I’ve ever seen any vote,” DiMasi said. “I had to go with my instinct, and that’s what I did.”
And, finally, I can’t resist posting this story from yesterday morning’s Boston Globe. The leader of anti-gay marriage forces in Massachusetts predicted, well, let’s just enjoy the delicious quotes…
Kris Mineau, a leader in the campaign for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, said today he was confident his side has enough votes to get the measure on the 2008 ballot. “We’re feeling very good about this,” said Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute….
“We’re confident we have the votes, and we’re calling on Senate president Terry Murray to keep her word and hold the vote,” Mineau said. “If they don’ t hold the vote, you know we have the votes.”
Well, Kris, they held the vote and you didn’t have the votes. How you feeling now?