Aside from stating that L'Auberge Espanole is a great movie, this post isn't very on topic...
I feel stupid for asking this on a law-related board, but can any of you Political Science/government majors explain to me how the massachusetts legislature works? they voted today to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would ban future same sex marriages (though they do still need further approval before it actually goes to voters)
apparently they can put things on the ballot with two votes in which at least 50 members approve. How the hell do 50 people get to decide for a legislature of 200?
Hey bridget, I live in Boston, so Im probably mor einformed about this than most.
Since 2004 the Massachusetts Lesgislature has not achiceve a majority same-sex marriage amendment. Actually, support for SSM among the legislature and the population in general has been increasing since 200, to the point where SSM is suported by about 60% of the electorate and probably a greater portion of the legislature (although I dont know the exact numbers here)
Anti-gay groups are annoyed that theyre losing so they are going through the process of amending the consitituion through citizen initiative. Basically they has to collect tens of thousands of signatures (they did much of this fradulenty, doing things like asking people to sign a petition to allow wine to be sold in grocery stores when it was actually the ssm petition or asking people to sign other, liberal petitions and telling people they had to sign two forms, the bottom of which was a SSM petition. Anyway, they got their number with signatures to spare so it didnt matter all that much except in prinicple.
So now what needs to happen is that the state constiutional convention, which consists of the H and the S and totals about 200 members, must have FIFTY votes in support of the meausure for TWO consecutive legislative sessions in order for it to appear on the ballot in 2008. The Convention first met a few months ago and after hours of debate and protests and all that fun stuff they voted to adjourn without a vote, effectively killing the measure. So then our crazy republican mormon (sorry mormons) governor who is trying to run for president and is achieving populariuty by trashing our state wherever he goes, takes out a law suit as a private citizen against the massachusetts legislature. The Supreme Judicial Court, which is a friend of the GLBT community, in a storngly worded opinion said that sep of powers prohibited them from ordering the legislature from doing anything, but that the legislature was not living up to its constitutional responsibility. So today they voted on in again, and I believe that it passed the 25% needed. My feeling is that they probably did this to shut Romney up and take away from his campaign winds. THe last thing any Massachusetts Democrat wants to see is Mitt Romney as president, the guy is truly horrible.
Anyway, the measure will need to be taken up by the legislature AGAIN next year, where my guess is they will NOT meet the 50 vote threshold. Even if they do, Massachusetts voters are not going to approve of it if it hits the ballot in 2008. The TINY conservative base is just not going to concede defeat. Mass is their worst nightmare bc although gay marriage here originated with the SJC decision, it now has fairly widespread support among Mass residents and politicians. All of the democratic gubenatorial candidates in this years election were supports of equal marriage, and even the republican joke of a candidate (romneys lt governor) was a strong supporter of civil unions. Also in an effort not to lose one of our seats in the House Massachsuetts is going through fairly substantial efforts to register our gigantic student base to vote in massachusetts. Most dont think that the amendment has any chance of passing, but im sure we'll be dealing with it in one form or another for years to come...
DAMN long post, I hope it was at least a little helpful