Daunting pressure

Gov. Deval Patrick has denied using a quid pro quo strategy to persuade legislators to change their vote on the marriage amendment. The accusation was first made public in a May 10 Boston Herald story in which two separate sources “close to the gay-marriage debate” confided that Patrick had “dangled job offers in front of anti-gay-marriage lawmakers to persuade them to switch their votes and kill a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex nuptials.”

We want to trust the governor. If those accusations are proven to be true, it would show how corrupt the political system has become. Attempting to buy votes with political favors is reprehensible. Such tactics do not belong in Massachusetts government.

The marriage amendment is facing its second vote in a constitutional convention — now scheduled for June 14. As things now stand, it seems likely that the measure will receive the 50 votes necessary to allow the citizens of Massachusetts to decide how they want marriage to be defined in their state. Both sides reportedly agree that the amendment has at least 57 votes.

But those legislators who support the amendment are under daunting pressure from the governor, the leadership of the House and Senate, and the gay-rights lobbies to change their vote.

Will they succumb? We hope that principled stand will prevail over last minute tactical moves and that they will vote their conscience. Between now and June 14, those legislators need our support and encouragement. They are the heroes bearing relentless pressure from groups that will do whatever it takes to thwart the people’s right to vote.