Friday, January 26, 2007

Notes From the MassEquality Meeting in Arlington

On Tuesday, I attended a MassEquality organizing forum in Arlington. The purpose of the meeting was to give us an idea of where things stood in the legislature regarding the anti-marriage Constitutional amendment and how we could help fight it. Bay Windows was also there, and they have a write-up about the meeting. The Bay Windows article focuses mainly on an awkward exchange between new state Rep. Will Brownsberger (D-Belmont) and an audience member about the constitutionality of killing the gay marriage ban procedurally. Reps Carl Sciortino (D-Somerville) and Mike Festa (D-Melrose) explained that thanks to the SJC ruling, they did not have the votes to kill the amendment by adjourning, and they knew it. Festa in particular defended the decision to not take the vote to adjourn since he didn't want to risk alienating any allies by forcing a tough vote that was sure to lose.

Along those lines, though, one thing that was mentioned was that there was too much focus lately on tactics and the procedural. The conversation statewide had turned away from the rights at stake. As such, a lot of people stayed home. They thought, particularly after the Con Con adjourned in November, that it was "in the bag" -- in the words of Rep. Sciortino. Now, of course, there's just one last chance to keep this from getting on the ballot. The folks from MassEquality gave some steps that supporters should take. The first, of course, was to call your legislators, no matter how they voted. Not only that, but encourage your friends and family to do the same, particularly if they live in the district of someone who voted in favor of the ban. They also suggested that people share their stories either as letters to the editor in the local paper or through their website. They also are always looking for volunteers.

Please check out the report from a similar meeting in Hingham from Below Boston.