Valley Patriot Editorial: People Finally Prevail Over Cowardly Legislature
January 01, 2007
In a surprise action, on January 2nd the Constitutional Convention of the Massachusetts Legislature actually voted to move forward a citizen petition to amend the state constitution on the definition of marriage. The constitution itself, in Article 48, requires the ConCon legislators to vote up or down on a citizen initiative petition, but in the past our gutless pols had found ways to avoid a vote through procedural delays until time ran out and the petition died.
This year the legislators were poised to once again flout the constitution and their oath of office by denying a vote on two initiative petitions. One was on universal healthcare and the other was on the definition of marriage. They did manage to kill the healthcare amendment – which passed the ConCon last year – by sending it to a committee for further study. The marriage petition, however, proved to be more difficult to ignore because of continuing public pressure and threatened lawsuits.
The cowards on Beacon Hill postponed the vote several times during the year, hoping the media and people would tire of the subject. But this time it didn’t work. Newspaper editorials from across the state – and even the Wall Street Journal – castigated the Legislature for trying to avoid a vote. Citizens repeatedly called their representatives and senators. Then Governor Romney petitioned the SJC, trying to force the Legislature to vote. Others filed lawsuits to sanction or disbar the 42 legislators who are lawyers if they didn’t fulfill their obligations under the constitution.
All this proved too much and on Jan. 2nd Senate President Travaglini relented and called for a vote on the matter. The 100 plus cowardly legislators who had desperately tried to kill the initiative all year had now run out of options. The vote went forward and 62 respectful legislators finally voted “yea” to advance the petition and “let the people decide” on the definition of marriage.
The Valley Patriot salutes all those who worked so hard to pressure our self-serving and arrogant politicians to show some respect for the state’s constitution — and the people.