Monday, September 12, 2005

Civil Union Amendment Doomed

If today's Globe is to be believed, the Constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage but also create civil unions is all but doomed. Groups favoring equal marriage rights have counted as many as 104 legislators (out of 200) who are voting against the amendment explicitly because they also favor those rights. Previously, it had been thought that the amendment would fail only because those who are opposed to both civil unions and marriage equality would also be voting against it. Now, it looks like there is a definite pro-marriage majority in the legislature. Here's a clue as to how that came to be:

State Senator James E. Timilty, a Walpole Democrat who campaigned last year in favor of the proposed constitutional amendment, said the meetings were crucial to altering his position because they converted abstract moral arguments into tangible reality.

"At many of these meetings, when I would look at the children of these couples and see that they deserved all of the benefits that I had certainly growing up in a family, the principles of fairness changed my mind and I decided that a no vote was the correct vote," Timilty said.
That the people who would deny these benefits to children call themselves pro-family is particularly galling to me. Look for this strategy of putting a human face to marriage equality to continue into 2008, should the anti-marriage initiative make the ballot. This is how those of us on the side of equal marriage rights are going to change minds -- not by calling names or making accusations, but by showing people that marriage equality has real consequences for real families.

By the way, as Blue Mass. Group noted this weekend, Kerry Healey has come out in favor of the anti-marriage/pro-civil union amendment. It makes sense given that in the unlikely event that the amendment passes on Wednesday, she'd want to be on the more "Republican" side. It also gives her a no-risk way to distinguish herself from Governor Mitt Romney, since by the time she made her announcement, the measure already looked like it was destined to fail. One thing that is interesting to note, however, is that Healey mentioned that she would be in favor of creating civil unions even if the 2008 measure to ban gay marriage passes.

UPDATE: As always, Mass Marrier is right on top of this.