Monday, February 9, 2004


A majority of Americans say they do not want laws in their states that would legalize same-sex “marriages,” according to a poll taken after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling in favor of such “marriages.”

The Massachusetts high court, in an advisory opinion, said Wednesday that homosexuals are entitled to nothing less than “marriage” and that civil unions will not suffice.

In a poll conducted by the National Annenberg Election Survey, people said by a 2 to 1 margin — 60 percent to 31 percent — that they oppose any similar law legalizing same-sex “marriage” in their states.

Forty-nine percent of those polled were opposed to the idea of a federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex “marriages,” while 42 percent favored it.

The White House is still reviewing the issue. “If activist judges continue to try to redefine marriage, without regard to the voice of the people, then the only alternative will be a constitutional process,” said Press Secretary Scott McClellan.

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the front-runner for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, said last week: “I believe and have fought for the principle that we should protect the fundamental rights of gay and lesbian couples — from inheritance to health benefits. I believe the right answer is civil unions. I oppose gay ‘marriage’ and disagree with the Massachusetts court’s decision.”

The Annenberg poll of 814 adults was conducted Feb. 5-8 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Moreover, an Associated Press survey of Massachusetts lawmakers shows a legislature deeply divided over a proposed constitutional amendment to ban homosexual “marriage” in the state where the nation’s first legally sanctioned same-sex “weddings” could take place as early as May.

All of Massachusetts’ legislators were contacted by telephone and e-mail by the AP since last week’s Supreme Judicial Court opinion. Of the 147 who responded, 62 said they would oppose the constitutional amendment, while 70 said they could support it. An additional 12 said they were undecided, and three had no comment. Fifty-two did not respond.

There is probably nothing lawmakers can do to prevent the nation’s first homosexual “marriages” from taking place May 17. The earliest the proposed amendment could reach the ballot is November 2006.

That is because the proposal first needs to be approved by a majority of lawmakers in two successive legislative sessions, which in Massachusetts last for two years. That means a revamped legislature could take up the issue after next fall’s elections.

Both Republican Gov. Mitt Romney and Democratic House Speaker Thomas Finneran have expressed their adamant support for the amendment. Most of the Republicans who responded were in favor of the amendment, but they occupy only 29 of the 200 legislative seats in the legislature.

Last night, Senate leaders discussed a possible compromise amendment that would ban homosexual “marriage” but allow civil unions — though it is not clear if that would satisfy either side or the court.

“We are gauging whether there is consensus for it in the Senate,” said Ann Dufresne, a spokeswoman for Senate President Robert Travaglini, a Democrat. “We should have a more definitive answer [today].”

Supporters of the amendment said they were basing their position on personal beliefs and public opinion.

“Marriage has been a tradition for 3,000 years,” said Rep. David Flynn, a Democrat. “I don’t think you can change the laws of nature, and I don’t think waiting a couple of years to see how people feel about it is the wrong thing to do.”

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