Even though the big political news of the week is, of course, the election on Tuesday, for Massachusetts citizens the fireworks are just beginning. With the good guys, led by Deval Patrick, apparently in charge for Nov. 7th, the real war comes two days later. The Nov. 9th reconvening of the Constitutional Convention brings the political circus to Beacon Hill, replete with all the noise and smells. Yup, it’s time to reconvene the Gay Marriage ‘question’. Remember, gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts, and has been for 1.5 years. And the state hasn’t gone to hell in a handbasket either!

So now we get to discuss what’s up with agenda 19 and 20?

Today, Senate President Robert (don’t call me Bobby anymore) Travaglini promised, “We have the shared responsibility to debate and seek final resolution of all the items remaining on the calendar. Next Thursday, it is my hope that we will finish the remaining business of the convention.”

Let’s return to the thrilling days of yester-month, July 2006. The joint session of the General Court adjourned before considering the amendment to leave the 8,000-plus same-sex marriages in place, but forbid them going forward. (That circus act is of disappearing rights and [Poof!] changing a civil contract into a religious ritual .)

The forces that would strip civil rights from a group (homosexuals) moaned of conspiracies and radical gay agenda and blah blah. In fact, there were quite a few big items and the ConCon covered over half of them. We still have a bunch, and none more intriguing that the two kick-the-queers ones.

An honest legislature would have disposed of the rest of the agenda before the general election. Hey, though, these are professional Massachusetts politicians. What else could you expect?

Oddly enough, they now have to see and maybe swallow one of their ugliest efforts so far. However, item 19 is among the remaining items to pick over. House bill 653 came from the spiteful minds of two of the most anti-gay legislators in this or any state, Emile Goguen and Phil Travis. It is a hateful little piece of work that would invalidate SSM and simultaneously prevent civil unions.

The delicious irony is that openly gay Senator Jerrett Barrios did what the anti-gay forces had been screaming for long time. They wanted a vote on this — let democracy work. The bill was an obvious loser, reported unfavorably from the Judiciary Committee twice. It was dead, passed, defunct.

So, Barrios moved this to a legislature-sponsor amendment for consideration by the ConCon. As his timing would have it, this amendment is one calendar item ahead of the current ballot amendment item to cut off future SSMs. Because it is legislator initiated, not petition driven, it needs 50% ConCon approval to advance, while the ballot initiative only needs 25% (51 total from both houses).

Come Nov. 9th, we might have any of the following:

  1. The ConCon gets bogged down in the health care mandate and other action without getting to 19 or 20.
  2. In normal times with normal business, they might adjourn without consideration of either. Thatprobably won’t happe, but in MA politics, you never know.
  3. Instead, they might come back for a second day to get to the controversy.
  4. If the ConCon votes on the sure loser, 19, fearful legislators might be able to tell their anti-gay constituents that they in fact voted for traditional marriage, but there weren’t 101 votes total.
  5. They could adjourn, saying they had considered SSM.
  6. Instead, when they tromp on Goguen’s geegaw, they could then move onto 20.
  7. Perhaps a Deval Patrick victory, coupled with the retirement of Goguen and Travis and the ouster of several anti-SSM legislators in the primary and general election will provide the additional gonads many legislators need. They might defeat 20 outright.
  8. The worse case would surely be 51 votes for item 20. That would mean another year of railing against SSM, which is here, in place, and favored by the majority of us. Get over it and get on with your lives, people!

We might melt the Golden Dome on this one.

Margalit blogs at What Was I THINKING Interested readers can e-mail him at margalit at yahoo dot com

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