Some conservatives (including yours truly) are not personally allied with this particular marriage amendment proposal. Nevertheless, we believe in an honest political process. But clearly, the queer activists do not. Here is what the homosexual newspaper Bay Windows' editorial has to say about the new marriage petition (Editorial: "2006 To Do List", Jan. 5 issue). Note that they plan to take down the amendment "through any means necessary"and "through procedural maneuvering" in the Legislature (key to that being Senate President Travaglini):
The most crucial fight this year is the campaign to defeat the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. MassEquality is leading the charge to squash this amendment, which is expected to come before the Legislature this spring or summer. A date will most likely be set during the May 10 constitutional convention. But the odds are stacked against defeat of this amendment. As a citizen-petition amendment, it only needs the support of one quarter of lawmakers in two successive sessions to wind up on the ballot, and even with MassEquality’s electoral successes in the last few years, VoteOnMarriage.org, the proponents of the amendment, should have no trouble getting enough votes.
Between now and the ConCon, legislators need to hear from you, your family, your friends and anyone else who cares about LGBT equality. Let them know that they need to stop this amendment by any means necessary, whether that means pulling together a supermajority to vote it down or killing it through procedural maneuvering before it comes up for a vote. You and your friends must also contact Senate President Robert Travaglini. As the man who holds the gavel at the ConCon, Travaglini will be instrumental in the success of any parliamentary quashing of the amendment.
Maybe the procedural maneuvering will include using House Bill H653, which was filed by Article 8 Alliance back in Dec. 2004 to define marriage in statute (one man, one woman). Openly "gay" Sen. Barrios somehow maneuvered our bill into a constitutional amendment proposal last year! (No one quite understands how or why he did this, though we suspected at the time he was positioning it for future use -- possibly to block the VoteOnMarriage citizens' petition amendment.) Only time will tell.
Here's the Mass. Family Institute's email alert today (1-9-06) on the signature issue:
VoteOnMarriage.org Seeks Investigation of Anti-Vote Websites and Prosecution of Paid Circulator; No Formal Challenges Filed by Signature Opponents
Newton Upper Falls, MA - VoteOnMarriage.org - the campaign to allow voters to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - today issued a letter to Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin with a copy to Attorney General Thomas Reilly regarding complaints and practices related to the campaigns for and against the marriage-vote effort.
The letter details that VoteOnMarriage.org sought to comply fully with all applicable laws during the signature gathering process and had been found in full compliance by the Attorney General. However, the only case of fraud of which VoteOneMarriage.org is aware - the admission before a legislative committee and to the media by paid circulator Angela McElroy that she misrepresented the marriage petition in potentially 269 cases - has yet to be investigated by authorities.
VoteOnMarriage.org calls on the proper authorities to prosecute this and any other circulator who intentionally misrepresented the petition. (Of note, VoteOnMarriage.org's sub-contracted agent dismissed Ms. McElroy from her employment, with cause, prior to her public admission.) VoteOnMarriage.org pledges to cooperate fully in any investigation and welcomes the opportunity to bring to justice anyone who has violated the law.
The letter also raises grave concerns about the legitimacy of petition complaint reporting processes established by the anti-vote organizations KnowThyNeighbor.org and MassEquality.org. Both organizations offer searchable, online databases listing the names of marriage petition signers. Each website invites citizens to search their database and make a complaint to their office and/or to the offices of Secretary Galvin, Attorney General Reilly and state legislators if their name was listed but they did not wish to sign the petition.
While VoteOnMarriage.org respects the First Amendment rights of these organizations, their online complaint process itself invites fraud in that it fails to authenticate the identity of the citizens filing complaints. Any person may pose as a disgruntled marriage petition signer, in essence stealing a legitimate signer's identity, and lodge a fallacious complaint of fraud.
In addition, VoteOnMarriage.org has received a significant number of contacts from petition signers who themselves have received harassing and intimidating live and automated phone calls, as well as mailings, from MassEquality. As has been cited in media reports, these citizens have been frightened that their identities have been stolen and believe the calls and letters are intended to harass and intimidate them - a clear civil rights violation.
"We have no objection to efforts to expose as-of-yet unknown instances of alleged fraud, however, we do object to the manner in which they are carrying out their anti-vote campaign," said Kris Mineau, spokesman VoteOnMarriage.org and president, Massachusetts Family Institute.
VoteOnMarriage.org calls on Secretary Galvin and Attorney General Reilly to take appropriate action to protect petition signers from online, telephone and direct mail threats against their civil liberties, personal safety and security.
The deadline period for filing complaints with the Election's Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office related to the petition process was January 6. No formal challenges to the VoteOnMarriage.org signature-gathering effort were filed.