Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Republican Has Kind Words for Reilly

The Springfield Republican has an editorial on Attorney General Tom Reilly's decision whether or not to certify the anti-gay marriage ballot question pushed by Massachusetts Family Institute. The editorial is both kind to Reilly and to the cause of equal marriage rights in general. Here's an excerpt:

History shows that Reilly can successfully separate his duties as the state's top legal officer from politics. He angered opponents of gay marriage last year when he refused Gov. W. Mitt Romney's request to seek a stay of the Supreme Judicial Court ruling legalizing gay marriage. "They won fair and square," Reilly told The Republican at the time, while acknowledging that he personally opposes gay marriage.

Gay-rights activists did win fair and square and now that the nation's first legally married gay couples have passed their first anniversaries, it's time opponents admitted the cork is out of the champagne bottle. As we've noted in this space, despite the repeated warnings of opponents, gay marriage did not damage the institution of marriage, undermine family values, put children at risk or devalue religious beliefs. In fact, time has shown that marriage and family have been made stronger.
Marry in Massachusetts has another take on Reilly's decision, one that is decidedly less sympathetic to the AG. Personally, I wonder whether a rejection of this ballot question will encourage those in the legislature who are both against civil unions and marriage rights to change vote for the civil union amendment when it comes up in the next Constitutional Convention (the date of which is to be set today). I had thought that groups like MFI and Article 8 had largely given up on the compromise civil union amendment in favor of their effort to ban both in 2008. If that effort looks like it's going to fail now, before the ConCon, there might be more pressure on the anti's to "do something" and change their vote to "yes". I think that a potential 2006 vote is more of a threat to marriage rights than a 2008 vote would be. By then, I'd like to think it will be too late to undo so many marriages in the Commonwealth, and the Massachusetts public will end up voting down any attempt to do so.