Thanks to LJ, I know that this happened; it didn’t even appear on my regular news files. So congrats to those folks I know who know and want civil unions in Massachusetts. I’m really happy for you.
These excerpts from the article on Yahoo! News caught my attention (article in italics).
Former Gov. Mitt Romney, now running for president, called the vote “a regrettable setback“ and said it makes it more important now to pass a national amendment banning gay marriage.
So, Mr. Romney…. not planning on carrying your home state in the election, are you?
Raymond Flynn, the former Boston mayor and former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican who was the lead sponsor of the proposed amendment, said the 170,000 Massachusetts residents who signed the petition for the ban “had their vote stolen from them.“
Let’s see… 170,000 Massachusetts residents signed the petition. This represents…. doing some math… consulting Google (the population estimate for Massachusetts for 2006 was 6,437,193… allowing for a 1.4% growth rate between 2006 and 2007… means that they got not even 3% of the population to sign on to this petition. Since it turns out that the anti-gay movement mustered 170,000 signatures, but the MA Secretary of State only validated 123,000 of them, this means only 1.8% of the population signed a petition that it should be on the state ballot in 2008.
Outside the Statehouse on Thursday, hundreds of people rallied on both sides of the issue. “We believe it’s unconstitutional not to allow people to vote on this,“ said Rebekah Beliveau, a 24-year-old Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary student who stood with fellow college-age amendment supporters across the street from the Statehouse. “We’re standing up not necessarily on the issue of same-sex marriage, but our right to vote,“ she said. Advocates said they had gathered 170,000 signatures supporting the amendment; the secretary of state’s office accepted 123,000 as valid.
This is a link to the relevant portion of the Massachusetts state constitution (http://www.mass.gov/legis/const.htm#cart048.htm). I didn’t read the whole constitution, but in the parts I read, it doesn’t say that the legislators have to listen to you demanding constitutional rights. It just says that they have to vote on your petition. Which they did. They said no.