Thursday, May 10, 2007

Fire Trucks vs Marriage Equality

Yesterday was the first session of the Constitutional Convention, and while all that happened was to recess, we now know that the next date will be June 14th. There's no guarantee that there will be a vote on the proposed marriage ban on that date, but supporters and opponents are gearing up just in case. Today's Boston Globe had a short article on this, and I found something I'd been waiting to see:

Supporters of same-sex marriage said privately that they believe that legislative leaders will have an easier time persuading some lawmakers to switch their votes during the give-and-take of June budget negotiations, when lawmakers traditionally seek money for pet projects.
There are enough supporters of marriage equality in the legislature to kill every pet project of the fifty-plus members who would advance the ban to the ballot. I am all for them doing so. Make them choose between bringing home that new library or skating rink or fire truck and voting to put an end to something that really hasn't changed life in the Commonwealth for most people one bit. Legislators are forgiven a variety of sins if they bring money to their district, or if they can point to something and say "without me, that wouldn't exist." While the marriage vote may be the most visible and controversial one of many of their careers, I have to imagine that there are at least eight legislators who would change their votes if it meant that they could ensure support for local projects.

Update: Meanwhile, the Boston Herald has its own article, which notes that Governor Deval Patrick may be trading jobs in the administration for votes against the marriage ban. Patrick's people deny this, and frankly I think it's a little silly. He should be offering marriage opponents jobs anyway, if only to get them out of the legislature. His administration has already triggered two special elections. If he can get these legislators to resign, it's just as good as switching their vote.