Tuesday, January 02, 2007

ConCon Today

I'm back in town just in time for today's Constitutional Convention, where the fate of the potential amendment to ban same-sex marriages will be decided. My fellow bloggers at Blue Mass. Group and the fine folks at Bay Windows are both live-blogging.

Dan Kennedy has an interesting thought experiment where he asks his readers to replace "same-sex marriage" with "reinstitution of slavery" and see if their thoughts on whether a vote should be blocked changes. It's probably too difficult to picture a world where such a measure would get to this point -- having had to achieve the support of 25 legislators and tens of thousands of petitioners -- but thinking about it this way makes me wonder if there isn't an issue for everyone that would make them cross the line from being what Kennedy calls "process liberals" to someone who would resort to adjourning the convention without voting on the amendment.

Personally, I hope that the amendment is killed without a vote today (since it has no chance of being voted down). I understand the implications of this, particularly in light of the SJC ruling that required a vote, but could not force one. I have heard all of the arguments about process, but they ring hollow particularly because the legislature has done this exact maneuver before. There is precedent. It seems unfair to me that supporters of gay marriage should not get the same parliamentary benefits that opponents of term limits, for example, got when that measure was killed in the same way. The legislature has already shown bad faith when it comes to following Article 48. Why should I trust that they will do so in the future, now that they have been again reprimanded by the Court? If I have no guarantee that by following the process now means that future amendments are safe from these shenanigans, then why unilaterally disarm? Why give up a weapon that is bound to be used against you in the future, particularly in this case, when the rights of gays and lesbians hang in the balance.