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At the March 11 constitutional convention, legislators should allow the people of Massachusetts to decide how marriage is to be defined in the state constitution without mixing in the issue of marriage-like civil unions.

The original text of the Marriage Affirmation and Protection Amendment, as proposed by Rep. Phillip Travis, D-Rehoboth, should be passed as is. That is what those citizens who spoke out as part of the unprecedented grassroots effort in support of MA and PA requested. At the time, the issue of civil unions was never raised. Indeed, as we saw at the Feb. 11 and 12 convention, neither same-sex marriage advocates nor defenders of traditional marriage support them.

The good news is that a proposed amendment that would inscribe marriage-like civil unions into the state constitution does not seem to have enough votes to pass.

The bad news is that Senate President Robert Travaglini is again signaling that the convention may be delayed if no consensus on an amendment can be reached before March 11. That would be simply outrageous.

Also, according a March 3 Boston Globe report, pro-same-sex marriage groups have launched a massive mailing campaign in favor of the Goodridge decision mandating same-sex marriage.

On Super Tuesday, same-sex marriage activists positioned themselves outside numerous polling places and asked passersby to allow campaign organizers to use their name in a pro-same-sex marriage postcard campaign aimed at legislators.

We trust legislators will see the difference between the true grassroots effort lead by citizens alarmed by the threat of the redefinition of marriage and an impersonal mass marketing campaign.

As the Legislature prepares to reconvene next Thursday, analysts are characterizing the situation as fluid. Legislators need to hear from us again. The great efforts made by so many concerned citizens willing to stand up and defend traditional marriage may be in vain if same-sex marriage advocates are allowed to make their pitch to legislators unopposed.

Along with the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, we urge our readers to:

-- Pray to God unceasingly.

-- Send a "MA and PA Reminder." Even if you already contacted your state senator and representative in the past, do so again. Any weekday is fine, but calls or emails generated March 8 through 11 will have the greatest impact. Use your own words to convey the following message: "My name is ___. I live at ___. I'm calling/writing to remind Sen. /Rep. ___ to approve MA and PA without mandating same-sex civil unions."

-- Tell the Senate President, "No more stalling." Send a follow-up call or email to Senate President Travaglini, with a message as simple as this: "No more stalling, please. We want our legislators to approve MA and PA without mandating same-sex civil unions."

To reach your legislators, call the Senate Clerk at 617-722-1276 and the House Clerk at 617-722-2356. The clerks will forward your call to your senator’s and representative’s offices. Find your legislators’ email addresses listed online at http://www.state.ma.us/legis/.

Senate President Travaglini may be contacted by calling 617-722-1500 or by email at RTravagl@senate.state.ma.us.

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