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News :: GLBT/Queer
Civil Unions today, Gay Marriage March 29th?
12 Mar 2004
On Thursday March 11th, 2003, the State of Massachusetts House and Senate reconvened a Constitutional Convention to debate the issue of gay marriage. During the March 11th session, three votes were made regarding three different bills on this topic. The Amendment options for the legislature to consider were: one that enabled civil unions as an alternative to gay marriage, one that defined marriage as a heterosexual unions that promotes “the stability and welfare of society”, and one that enabled civil unions while defining marriage as an institution between man and woman.


On Thursday March 11th, 2003, the State of Massachusetts House and Senate reconvened a Constitutional Convention to debate the issue of gay marriage. During the March 11th session, three votes were made regarding three different bills on this topic. The Amendment options for the legislature to consider were: one that enabled civil unions as an alternative to gay marriage, one that defined marriage as a heterosexual unions that promotes “the stability and welfare of society”, and one that enabled civil unions while defining marriage as an institution between man and woman.

Various incarnations of anti-gay legislation were proposed and defeated throughout the day, and by 6:30pm, the Travaglini-Finneran bill (also referred to as the “Leadership” bill) was passed, enabling civil unions while defining marriage as an institution between man and woman. The House and Senate will resume their Constitutional Convention on March 29th to consider alternative proposals and amendments. Arline Isaacson, the co-leader of the Massachusetts Gay and Political Caucus describes the pro-gay legislator’s voting strategy as:

"Our goal is to kill the ability of other amendments to pass and then kill all of them."

Advocates of Gay Marriage, such as MassEquality have described this important vote as a solid and strategic blow to the anti-gay factions within the Massachusetts Legislature. Anti-gay advocates, however, are describing the vote as a solid and immovable victory against gay marriage. The Constitutional Convention will reconviene at the end of the month with several alternative amendment proposals are planned, including a Democratic sponsored amendment reaffirming the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling and making a clear dinstinction between “civil” and “religious” marriage.

Interestingly enough the conservative media, like the corporate news conglomerate CNN, has chosen to promote this historical decision as an affirmation of anti-gay sentiment in the State of Massachusetts. Of note, many of the anti-gay protesters who were at the Statehouse on Thursday were bussed in from out of state. Also, much of the anti-gay sentiment relied on reinforcement from biblical mythology, such as the story of Adam and Eve. What may be the most ironic, not entirely serious poster, nestled in with the “No to Gay Marriage/Yes To Jesus/No To Civil Union” signs was one sign which read “If We Give Gay People Civil Rights Then Everyone Will Want Them”.

Massachusetts pro-gay activists, many of whom arrived at the Statehouse early in the morning and stayed late into the night, cheered and waved signs in the cold weather. The most prevalent sign was “No Discrimination in the Constitution”, but others included “Hetero Housewives for Same Sex Marriage” and “Where Does Bigotry Fit in God’s Plan?.

While the outpouring of support for Gay Marriage was strong both in and outside of the Statehouse, the voting leaned towards compromise. The next step in the legislative process are the alternative amendments which will be considered at the next Constitutional Convention, on March 29th, 2004. During the next 2 weeks, Massachusetts voters and representatives can consider the long-term effects of the legislative steps that were taken on Maarch 11th, and will be able to discuss alternative proposals for the next round of legislative action. Civil Unions are one step closer to legislative equality for Massachusetts gays and lesbians, but a more fair and equal Massachusetts is still possible!

More Boston IndyMedia articles on this topic include:

February 13, 2004 - The Massachusetts Constitution Has Not Been Amended to Ban Gay Marriage--For Now
February 9th, 2004 - Separate but Equal isn't Equal: MA Constitutional Amendment?
November 18, 2003 - Triumph for Same-Sex Marriage in Massachusetts!
and related commentary.
See also:
http://www.massequality.org

This work is in the public domain.
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Re: Civil Unions today, Gay Marriage March 29th?
30 Mar 2004
Will SOMEBODY please open a Bible???

Or does that make too much sense?
Re: Civil Unions today, Gay Marriage March 29th?
31 Mar 2004
OK, so we opan a Bible. I'm not sure what you mean by that. In an on-line Boston Globe article I can't seem to find again (otherwise I would provide a link), the pastor of the Old Cambridge Baptist Church makes a very good point: that there are eight passages in the Bible that could *may be* be interpetated as anti-gay, while there are hundreds calling for the alleviation of poverty. It would make a lot more sense, he argues, for Christians to mobilize against the budget cuts that are harming the poor than against gay marriage. Further, the website Evangelicals Concerned http://www.ecinc.org/ --a Christian evangelical website--goes through those passages in the Bible that are usually seen as condemning homosexuality and argues that, taken in their historical context, they are saying something quite different, usually condemning the orgiastic rites of the ancient Hebrews' Canaanite neighbors. There is nothing specifically anti-gay in the Bible.

Is that what you meant?

Even if one could find a few passages in the Bible that were clearly anti-gay, that would no reason to cling to them blindly. Like the sacred texts of any religious tradition, while inspired by great spiritual insights, they were transmitted--first orally, then in writing--by fallible human beings, who were products of their times. The Bible and other sacred texts are filled with contradictions because of this. Rather than taking any one passage as the final word of God, it makes more sense to use the whole sacred text as a general guide in helping us think through issues. The long term thrust of the Christian tradition, when it has not been adulterated by concerns for worldly power or by the simple narrow-minded belief that Christians alone have access to spiritual insight, is a message of universal love. If love between two people is a relfection of God's love for us all, doesn't it make sense to honor that love in all its forms, including the love of gay couples?
Re: Civil Unions today, Gay Marriage March 29th?
23 Jul 2004
Fuck that shit fuck that shit
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08 Jun 2006
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08 Jun 2006
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08 Jun 2006
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