Friday, June 22, 2007

Rep. Wallace Explains His Switch

In today's Boston Herald, columnist Peter Gelzinis talks with State Rep. Brian Wallace (D-South Boston) about his vote last week to protect marriage equality in Massachusetts. Wallace was one of the nine legislators who had voted in favor of the marriage ban in January, but changed his mind and voted against it last week. Wallace explains his change of heart:

"Six out 10 people who live in Southie now have been here less than 10 years," he said. "At every community meeting and barbecue I went to, I'd have four, five, six, a dozen people approach me very quietly and politely.

" 'Representative,' they'd say, 'we'd just like you to know we live here, too.' The landscape has changed and it continues to change every day. But it's not just that. You've got thousands of people who've married in the last four years. They raise families. They pay taxes. What are we supposed to say to them? That their marriages are a lie? That the rights we gave them suddenly don't apply to other people? How can we do that?"
Wallace denied rumors that we circulated before the vote that he'd been bought off or promised a job in the administration to get him out of the legislature. He also noted that in the week since the vote, he has been getting "hate-filled e-mails" that prove to him that had the marriage ban been placed on the ballot, it would have been the "ugliest, most divisive election this state has ever seen."

Over at Take Mass Action, Chris has the message that anti-marriage activists sent out to supporters of the ban, which is the likely cause of the email barrage Rep. Wallace and others are experiencing. If you're a support of marriage equality, give those legislators a thank you email to reassure them that they did the right thing.