- The Washington Times - Friday, November 10, 2006

BOSTON (AP) — Pro-family forces in Massachusetts needed only one of every four legislators to agree that the state’s voters should decide the issue of same-sex “marriage,” but legislators first had to agree even to take up their proposed amendment.

They did not.

The legislature recessed before voting on the ballot measure, making it unlikely to end up on the 2008 ballot. Opponents of same-sex “marriage,” who gathered 170,000 signatures to put the measure before lawmakers, were outraged.

“Certainly this denies due process of the people,” said Kris Mineau of the Massachusetts Family Institute, who suggested a federal lawsuit was possible and said legislators were “thumbing their nose” at the state’s constitution. “The people’s right to free speech is being throttled. The people’s right to vote is being throttled.”

If lawmakers do not vote on the proposal before the next legislature takes office, the measure cannot appear on the November 2008 ballot. A vote appeared unlikely because lawmakers recessed until Jan. 2, the last day this legislature is in session.

Lawmakers voted 196-0 to reject a proposed amendment that would bar same-sex “marriages” and invalidate the thousands that already have been conducted, but decided 109-87 to recess without voting on another measure that would stop such “marriages” only after the amendment was enacted.

“This is over. It’s over,” said Arline Isaacson of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus.

David Wilson, a “married” homosexual, was relieved.

“We never know at the end of the day if our lives are going to continue to be normal,” Mr. Wilson said, “so today, I just feel really more at peace that hopefully this is over and we will not have to see our rights put to a vote again.”

Supporters of the less restrictive measure accused supporters of same-sex “marriage” of using the first measure, to dissolve all existing homosexual unions, to detract attention from their own. They said voters deserved a chance to decide whether same-sex “marriage” — imposed on the state by its highest court — should remain legal, especially since 170,000 of them signed petitions calling for the measure.

“The gracious people, the socially conscious people, the liberal people, you’re the ones who always want everyone to be heard. What about these 170,000 people?” said Rep. Marie Parente, a Democrat.

Sen. Jarrett Barrios, a Democrat and openly homosexual member of the legislature, pointed to his wedding ring as he warned colleagues that putting same-sex “marriage” on the ballot would open the doors to a negative campaign vilifying homosexuals.

“You don’t have to live next to us, you don’t have to like us,” Mr. Barrios said. “We are only asking you today to end the debate so that we can sleep easily knowing that while you may not live next to us or even like us that we will at least have the right to enjoy the same rights the rest of you enjoy.”

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in November 2003 that the state’s constitution guarantees homosexuals the right to “marry” in Massachusetts. Since May 2004, more than 8,000 couples have participated those “weddings.”

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