Joined: 03 Jan 2005
Location: Stow, MA
|Posted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 2:50 pm Post subject: Marriage Amendment Primer
|The Massachusetts legislature, sitting in joint session as a Constitutional Convention, is scheduled to vote on the Marriage Amendment on July 12. The amendment needs the votes of 50 legislators, out of a total of 200 senators and representatives, in this legislature and the next one, in order to go on the ballot for the voters to decide.
There are two things that need to happen on July 12: first, the amendment needs to be put to a vote in the convention; and second, it needs to get 50 votes in its favor. To make sure these things happen, people should contact their State Senators and Representatives. Deacons can call them, and it would be great if they could get an announcement made and/or placed in their parish reminding the parishioners to call their legislators.
First, the amendment needs to be put to a vote in the convention. In 2001 there was a similar petition which got almost 130,000 signatures, but it never got voted on because the President of the Senate used a procedural maneuver to shut down the convention before they voted. It would be wrong for a similar trick to be played again this year. The Massachusetts Constitution gives citizens the right to make initiative petitions, like the Marriage Amendment. When there are sufficient signatures, the people have a right to have it voted on, and the legislators have a duty to vote on it. They may vote for or against; but to avoid voting at all makes a mockery of the Constitution. The Marriage Amendment now under consideration received over 170,000 signatures, and 123,356 were certified by the Secretary of the Commonwealth. This is a record-breaking number. If ever there was a proposal which deserved to have a vote, in the legislature, this is it. So even a Senator or Representative who does not favor the amendment should be reminded that the amendment deserves a fair vote, without tricks to prevent it from coming to a vote.
Second, the amendment needs to get 50 votes in its favor. The amendment defines marriage as being between one man and one woman. The supporter of same-sex "marriage" often say that to define marriage as between a man and a woman is "discrimination" against homosexuals. But it is not "discrimination" to treat different things differently. The law treats bicycles differently from motorcycles, even though both have two wheels. The law requires motorcyclists, but not automobile drivers, to wear helmets even though both types of vehicles have motors. The law treats children differently from adults, even though both are human. So it's not "discrimination" when the things are not the same. The crucial difference between a same-sex couple and one of opposite sex is that it is always inherently impossible for the same-sex couple to reproduce, to procreate children, but it is not inherently impossible for a couple of opposite sex. And it precisely this possibility of procreation, of producing the next generation of society, that has made marriage, as the union of a man and a woman, different from every other relationship and given marriage its importance for society. So we should urge our legislators not only to let the amendment come to a vote, but to vote in favor of it because the stable union of man and woman is different from other types of relationship and has an importance for society which other relationships do not equal.
It is important for our voices to be heard, along with those of our fellow citizens who believe in the rights of voters in a democracy and in the importance of heterosexual marriage for society.
People can call their Senators and Reps at 617-722-2000, or they can get a the names and direct numbers by visiting www.voteonmarriage.org and clicking "COMMUNICATE."
Joe Whipple '96