sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

June 16, 2005

don’t you just love activist governors?
posted by soe 6:54 pm

According to an AP report that came out this afternoon, Gov. Mitt Romney has announced he will back a gay marriage ban to the Massachusetts constitution written by the Coalition for Marriage and Family Initiative.

This new proposed amendment will be brought forward as a citizen’s initiative petition. That means the attorney general will have to sign off on the language. (What do we know about the MA AG? Would Tom Reilly sign off on ridiculous language if the courts of Massachusetts have already ruled on the subject?) Then volunteers (who do not have to be residents of the state) have to collect 65,825 voters’ signatures (3% of the citizens who voted in the last gubernatorial election) within 64 days of receiving approval from the AG’s office. Finally, 25% of the legislators have to vote for the amendment in consecutive sessions before the amendment can be placed on a general ballot. Apparently if enough lawmakers fail to vote in favor of it, citizens can get around them by collecting more signatures (an additional .5% of the citizens who voted in the last gubernatorial election) to put it on the ballot themselves. No more than 1/4 of the signatures may come from any one county. (As an aside, a 1998 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling dictates that any extraneous markings on a petition sheet (such as an address if it is not requested, a personal statement, or page numbers) would invalidate the entire sheet. I wonder how that will affect this effort.)

The Boston Archbishop and several other Massachusetts bishops have already pledged their assistance in reaching the required number of signatures.

Romney had previously supported a legislative amendment that would have legalized civil unions while making marriage illegal. He has withdrawn his support from that bill because he believes that the civil union issue muddies the water. (I.e., he doesn’t like the idea of giving gay people rights.)

In his press conference he talked about how “individuals in our society should be able to make the choices they want in their lives and that we have respect for people’s choices. We have a high degree of respect and tolerance for people whose lifestyle and choices and orientation is as they may choose.” Note the repeated use of “choices” and “lifestyle.” Romney would like citizens to remember that gay people choose to live a lifestyle that he considers abhorrent and undeserving of state recognition or benefits. Remember, they could choose to live a lifestyle that he would find more palatable.

The fact that a Mormon Republican governor (did I just hear Howard Dean snickering into his sleeve?) doesn’t like gay marriage is not particularly surprising to me.

But what I find most galling is the Romney quote in the final paragraph of the news wire story:

“If the question is, ‘Do you support gay marriage or civil unions?’ I’d say neither. . . . If they said you have to have one or the other, that Massachusetts is going to have one or the other, then I’d rather have civil unions than gay marriage. But I’d rather have neither.”

Let’s hope the Massachusetts citizenry would rather not re-elect such a close-minded person to their highest state seat. And let’s hope he isn’t the Great White Hope of the GOP for 2008.

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love, support, and returning to the outdoors
posted by soe 11:25 am

It’s Thursday. You know the routine. Three beautiful things from the last week:

1. I had a letter from an elderly neighbor from my childhood home yesterday. She lost her husband this winter and her last two letters have included notes about how much she misses him. In her first letter she wrote that they’d been married 50 years and that it hadn’t been enough. Yesterday’s letter included a note that she didn’t understand how much you could miss someone until this happened. Remarkably sad, yes. But beautiful, too.

2. I’ve had a rough month. And Rudi’s been there every step of the way. Sometimes he loses patience with me (I do, too, for the record), but generally he is wonderful and supportive, giving me a shoulder to cry on, dessert to drown my sorrows in, and a pair of ears when I need to rehearse my presentation “just one more time.”

3. The last week has been miserably hot and humid — the sort of weather one can cope with in August or, presumably, if one lives in the Deep South. Sometime yesterday, the humidity broke, giving me a beautiful evening to sit outside and read until the light faded.

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