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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Civil Unions and Gay Marriage

Here in Massachusetts, the only State in the Union to permit Gay Marriage, we are coming up to a State Constitutional Convention where a Constitutional amendment sponsored by a mean spirited coalition will be voted on by our legislators. If it passes, it will then go on a state-wide ballot to be voted up or down.

One of the arguments that the proponents make is that legislators are not voting on whether they agree with the marriage amendment. They are only saying whether they think that the people of the State have the right to vote on the issue.

"Only" is not the word to be used in this context. The question is whether the rights of our gay and lesbian neighbors can be abrogated by a vote of the people. I think not. The State constitution is designed to protect the unpopular.

And let us leave religion out of this. We are talking here about the right to a Civil Marriage -- the kind of marriage you get at the courthouse or from a Justice of the Peace, not the kind you get in a church, mosque, or synagogue. The U.S Constitution mandates the separation of Church and State. It should be applied rigorously in this case.

In my view the legislators should not vote on the basis of their religious beliefs. They should not vote in favor of the amendment because the Archbishop told them to, or their Minister told them to, or even because their constituents told them to. The members of the legislature should vote unanimously against this amendment because it has the potential to deprive some of our fellow citizens of their civil rights.

Other States should rapidly adopt Massachusetts forward looking position.

Sent to New York Times

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