Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Former Gov. Bill Weld, Mentor to Romney, Will Make Calls vs. Marriage Amendment

We continue to wonder why the supposed pro-real-marriage crowd (Mass. Family Institute, Mass. Catholic Conference, Mass. Citizens for Life) didn't stand up for the first and BETTER* marriage amendment, instead of letting the Legislature and acting Gov. Swift throw it in the trash in 2002?

And why didn't our supposedly pro-marriage former Governor, Mitt Romney, ever address the issue when he took office in January 2003? The first marriage amendment was arguably still alive then, but Romney said it was "too extreme" -- because it banned civil unions! (Romney went on to twist arms among Republican legislators, getting them to vote for the failed Travaglini-Lees amendment which would have created civil unions.)

Romney's mentor, former Gov. Bill Weld, has decided to stick his nose into the current marriage amendment mess. State House News reports:

Former Gov. Bill Weld held an afternoon visit with House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, whose chamber is home to the vast majority of the pro-amendment votes. The two-term Republican governor said he might call legislators Wednesday in an effort to influence votes against the ban, which was generated by about 170,000 Bay State citizens' signatures. ...

Weld said he hopes the measure doesn't advance to the popular ballot because "I think it's going be a distraction for the next 18 months if it does get put on the ballot, and I think the best way to handle it is just to get rid of it right now." Weld infuriated gay marriage supporters two years ago when he was running for governor of New York by saying he opposed the expansion of gay marriage outside Massachusetts. Making at least his second appearance in the State House in the last week, Weld said he was in the capitol on behalf of Lehman Brothers, the global finance firm, but said it was not to lobby. In 2003, shortly after the state Supreme Judicial Court delivered the ruling that led to the practice of gay marriage here, Weld endorsed the decision, and later officiated at a same-sex marriage.

Why would a nominal Republican be concerned if the amendment were still an issue for the next 18 months? We thought it was just the Democrats who wanted it to go away, so as not to hurt their vote in the 2008 election.

Meanwhile, Senate President Murray is still counting heads, and won't decide until Thursday morning whether or not to hold the vote.

State House News reports (June 12):
Murray said she expected to vote Thursday, but didn't know whether the gay marriage proponents have swayed the handful of votes needed to draw support for the amendment below the 50-vote threshold. ...
Asked if she would still call for a vote if she were unsure of the result, Murray replied, "We'll decide on Thursday." In May, Murray, responding to reporters' questions about whether she thought there would be a vote on the amendment in June, said, "Well, we're going to ask for one." Asked about the discrepancy, Murray spokeswoman Samantha Dallaire said, "The decision is up to the membership" on how to proceed Thursday.

[*Our position on the current VoteOnMarriage amendment: We DON'T like the wording (allowing current homosexual "marriages" to stand; not banning civil unions). But we DO respect the process: The Constitution provides for referendum petitions, VoteOnMarriage got the signatures, and the legislators are required to vote. And bribery is against the law. But its passage would not solve our problem. We'd still have "homosexual marriages" recognized by the Mass. Constitution, and civil unions could follow.]