Marriage vote likely at next con-con
BOSTON -- If Senate President Therese Murray stands by her public comments, a pivotal vote on the marriage amendment will take place June 14.
Murray told reporters May 9 that she would ask for a vote on the amendment at the upcoming constitutional convention.
“We have a high expectation of the vote being held on the 14th,” said Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute and a spokesperson for VoteOnMarriage.org.
“We are taking Mrs. Murray at her word in her new leadership position as senate president as a woman of integrity and abiding by the words she spoke in public,” he said.
The amendment, which would define marriage as the union between one man and one woman in the state constitution, received the support of 62 legislators at the Jan. 2 constitutional convention. Since it was initiated as a citizen’s ballot petition, the proposed amendment requires the approval of only 25 percent of the joint Legislature in two successive sessions before it can come before the people for a popular vote. If the measure receives at least 50 votes in the 2007 legislative session it will appear on the ballot next year.
Mineau also dismissed reports that suggest some supporters of the amendment are planning to change their vote at the June convention.
“We have no indication of that from either the elected officials themselves or their staff. They all continue to say that their representatives or senators are with us,” he said.
“We have 57 [legislators] totally committed to vote for the amendment and, to the best of our knowledge, those votes are holding steadily,” he added.
Another indication that a vote on the ballot petition will likely take place June 14 is a ramping-up of public outreach by both sides on the issue.
MassEquality, the gay-rights group that is leading the fight against the proposed amendment, is spending $750,000 in a multi-media campaign with the theme “It’s wrong to vote on rights.”
Mineau was critical of the theme of the MassEquality campaign. “The argument that same-sex marriage is a civil right is absolutely fallacious. There is no law or constitution in the land that has ever established same-sex marriage as a right,” he said.
“We don’t invent civil rights out of the air. Civil rights are established by laws and by constitutions. Even the Supreme Court here in Massachusetts never has said that same-sex marriage is a civil right,” he added.
For its part, VoteOnMarriage.org is targeting a group of around 20 legislators whose vote could swing the outcome and is also running a $30,000 radio campaign advocating the people of Massachusetts be given their right to vote on the definition of marriage.
“We don’t have the massive amounts of money that MassEquality has from its national resources to instantly be able [to] launch a $750,000, three-week media campaign,” Mineau said. “What we do have is a wonderful people, with faith and courage throughout the state, beginning with 170,000 who signed the petition 18 months ago, and hundreds of thousands of aroused citizens, and that’s our base.”
Ed Saunders, executive director of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, stressed the urgent need for Catholics to contact their legislators and ask them to let the people vote.
All parishes in Massachusetts have been asked to print a statement in their bulletins stressing the importance of contacting legislators before June 14.
The statement reads in part: “We have a duty to pass on a strong institution of marriage for the good of future generations. Each of us in the community of faith should exercise our rights as citizens, and urge our legislators to vote to move the marriage amendment to the 2008 ballot and allow every citizen’s voice to be heard.”
For Saunders, a grassroots effort will be crucial to the outcome of the vote.
“It’s personal contact in the local communities that these reps and senators listen to,” he said.
“The faithful should contact their representatives, even those who are with us, because they are under tremendous pressure to change their vote. They need to hear from their supporters and constituents,” said Saunders.
“[Thank] them for supporting letting the people vote in this democracy [and] encourage them to be strong because the pressures that are being brought upon them are tremendous to change their vote,” he said.
Current legislators who voted for
the Marriage Amendment on Jan. 2, 2007
Representative Home City Telephone Number
Rep. Bruce J. Ayers Quincy 617-722-2230
Rep. John J. Binienda E. Worcester 617-722-2320
Rep. Christine E. Canavan Brockton 617-722-2006
Rep. Paul C. Casey Winchester 617-722-2380
Rep. Robert Correia Fall River 617-722-2810
Rep. Geraldine Creedon Brockton 617-722-2070
Rep. Sean Curran Springfield 617-722-2263
Rep. Viriato M. deMacedo Plymouth 617-722-2100
Rep. Paul Donato Medford 617-722-2960
Rep. Lewis G. Evangelidis Holden 617-722-2263
Rep. James H. Fagan Taunton 617-722-2040
Rep. David L. Flynn Bridgewater 617-722-2017
Rep. John P. Fresolo Worcester 617-722-2240
Rep. Paul K. Frost Auburn 617-722-2489
Rep. Colleen M. Garry Dracut 617-722-2380
Rep. Susan W. Gifford Wareham 617-722-2090
Rep. William G. Greene Billerica 617-722-2210
Rep. Robert S. Hargraves Groton 617-722-2305
Rep. Donald F. Humason Westfield 617-722-2803 Rep. Frank M. Hynes Marshfield 617-722-2552
Rep. Michael Kane Holyoke 617-722-2263
Rep. Paul Kujawski Webster 617-722-2017
Rep. William Lantigua Lawrence 617-722-2810
Rep. John A. Lepper Attleboro 617-722-2100
Rep. Paul Loscocco Holliston 617-722-2220
Rep. James R. Miceli Wilmington 617-722-2582
Rep. James M. Murphy Weymouth 617-722-2396
Rep. David M. Nangle Lowell 617-722-2020
Rep. Robert J. Nyman Hanover 617-722-2020
Rep. Jeffrey D. Perry East Sandwich 617-722-2396
Rep. George N. Peterson Grafton 617-722-2100
Rep. Thomas M. Petrolati Ludlow 617-722-2255
Rep. Elizabeth A. Poirier North Attleboro 617-722-2976
Rep. Karyn Polito Shrewsbury 617-722-2230
Rep. Mary S. Rogeness Longmeadow 617-722-2100
Rep. Richard J. Ross Wrentham 617-722-2305
Rep. Michael F. Rush Boston 617-722-2637
Rep. Angelo M. Scaccia Boston 617-722-2962 Rep. Todd M. Smola Palmer 617-722-2240
Rep. Joyce A. Spiliotis Peabody 617-722-2430
Rep. Walter F. Timilty Milton 617-722-2810
Rep. A. Stephen Tobin Quincy 617-722-2783
Rep. James E. Vallee Franklin 617-722-2380
Rep. Anthony J. Verga Gloucester 617-722-2877
Rep. Brian P. Wallace Boston 617-722-2013
Rep. Daniel K. Webster Hanson 617-722-2487
Senator Home City Telephone Number
Sen. Scott P. Brown Wrentham 617-722-1555
Sen. Gale D. Candaras Wilbraham 617-722-1291
Sen. Robert Creedon Brockton 617-722-1200
Sen. Robert Hedlund Weymouth 617-722-1646
Sen. Richard Moore Uxbridge 617-722-1420
Sen. Michael Morrissey Quincy 617-722-1494
Sen. Steven Panagiotakos Lowell 617-722-1630