- The Washington Times - Friday, November 10, 2006

Only two days after voters in Arizona rejected a ballot initiative to define marriage as between a man and a woman and seven other states approved their own ballot initiative, Massachusetts lawmakers denied their constituents the opportunity to decide for themselves — a blatant attempt to stop debate once and for all. In the process, they also trampled the state constitution.

Bay State legislators recessed Thursday without considering whether to place the 170,000-signatory marriage amendment on the 2008 ballot even though the state constitution requires that they vote, and even though the liberal state supreme court, which decreed same-sex “marriage” in the first place, had also previously ordered legislators to vote one way or another. But they wouldn’t even put themselves on record as to whether to allow voters a choice two years from now.

To avoid intervention by Gov. Mitt Romney, lawmakers voted 109-87 to recess. Under the state’s laborious constitutional-amendment rules, this all but kills the effort to let citizens have a say one way or the other. It deprives the measure of the second consecutive thumbs-up by 25 percent of lawmakers which the constitution requires for a ballot measure to go forward. That means proponents need to start over. The ballot measure must now garner tens of thousands of signatures again.

That, of course, is the easy part. According to opponents of same-sex “marriage,” about three-quarters of state residents would approve a ban — which, as it happens, is why lawmakers don’t want to be on record opposing it, even as they quash it procedurally. This is hardly a profile in courage.

There is a fundamental conflict between what the state’s political establishment wants and what state residents want. So, rather than following the will of the people, lawmakers are disobeying the constitution. Mr. Romney’s reaction struck the right chords: “One-hundred-and-seventy-thousand citizens followed our Constitution’s process to petition government. They followed the prescribed process to place an item of importance before the voters. They asked for democracy.

“But today, by effectively avoiding the constitutionally required vote on same-sex marriage, 109 legislators disgraced their oath of office. Each of them swore to follow the Constitution. The Constitution plainly states that when a qualified petition is placed before them, they ‘shall’ vote. By not voting, we have witnessed the triumph of arrogance over democracy. Whether or not you favor same-sex marriage, you should be very concerned that the rule of law and the sovereignty of the people have been trampled.”

This is a sad day for democracy in Massachusetts, and a signal example of left-liberalism.


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