Take a stand for democracy

In what seems to be the first step towards an illegal legislative action, 109 legislators chose to recess the constitutional convention Nov. 9 before voting on a ballot petition to amend the constitution to define marriage as the union between one man and one woman.

According to our state constitution, each ballot petition has to be voted upon. A group of legislators decided instead to shamefully and willfully betray their constitutional duty.

The final step of that betrayal is expected to take place on the final day of the current legislative session -- Jan. 2, 2007, when lawmakers are expected to reconvene simply to reaffirm the Nov. 9 vote and adjourn the convention for good without taking a vote on the ballot amendment.

This Sunday Nov. 19 at 1:30 p.m. we have a chance to respond to this outrageous set of events. The Massachusetts Catholic Conference in collaboration with VoteOnMarriage.org is calling on all concerned citizens to rally with Gov. Mitt Romney at the front steps of the Massachusetts Statehouse.

The same-sex marriage lobby has described the Nov. 9 recess as a final victory. But, in fact, there are several options being considered that would keep the ballot petition alive. Most importantly, there is plenty of time for the people who feel disenfranchised by this vote to make their legislators aware of their outrage. If only a few listen and change their position, a vote may still take place on Jan. 2.

Twenty legislators who voted to continue the July 12 constitutional convention (and, presumably, vote on the amendment) changed their vote to prevent a vote in November. What changed their minds?

According to several pro-traditional marriage sources, on Election Day the same-sex marriage camp did not have enough legislative support to block the vote on the ballot petition. It was only after House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi strong-armed legislators that opponents of traditional marriage got the votes needed to recess.

It is paradoxical that two days after the people of Massachusetts elected a governor who rallied the state under the slogan of "taking back our government," the Legislature, led by the speaker of the House, hijacked the will of the people of Massachusetts. They caved into the pressure from a small but potent lobby that had sent the clear message that Nov. 9 was payback time.

Just days before the convention, Susan Ryan-Vollmar, editor of Massachusetts' gay lifestyle newspaper Bay Windows, wrote an open letter to the legislators encouraging them to "kill" the amendment.

"We d't care how it's done: Vote it down, adjourn the ConCon, fail to make a quorum. Whatever. Just make this thing go away."

As if her message was not blunt enough, Ryan-Vollmar continued:

"Lawmakers owe the LGBT community nothing less."

"Through organized groups like MassEquality, the Freedom to Marry Coalition and the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, LGBT people have raised more than a million dollars for you. We have volunteered for your political campaigns. We have urged our friends to vote for you," she said.

The same-sex marriage lobby asked legislators for payback, to betray their oath to serve the people of Massachusetts and to "kill" the amendment, even by breaking the law, because they had contributed to their campaigns and voted for them.

This is the political climate we are currently experiencing in Massachusetts: The constitutional process has been trampled by a group willing to pay any price to impose its personal lifestyle on society.

It is time for the people to take our government back. This Sunday's rally at the Statehouse is the first step.