Wednesday, December 27, 2006

SJC Rejects Romney's Anti-gay Lawsuit

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has refused to force the legislature to vote on the anti-gay marriage amendment. This is an important victory for the pro-equality side. If the legislature had been forced to vote on the amendment, we would have lost.

In its decision the SJC scolded the legislature, saying that it is their constitutional duty to vote on the amendment. However, the court did agree with the pro-equality lawyers saying, "there is no presently articulated judicial remedy for the Legislature's indifference to, or defiance of, its constitutional duties."

The SJC had some harsh words for the legislature:
The members of the joint session have a constitutional duty to vote, by the yeas and nays, on the merits of all pending initiative amendments before recessing on January 2, 2007. With respect to legislative action on proposals for constitutional amendments introduced to the General Court by initiative petition, the language of art. 48 is not ambiguous.
The decision goes on to state:
Some members of the General Court may have reasoned, in good faith, that a vote on the merits of the initiative amendment in accordance with the directives of the pertinent provisions of art. 48 was not required by the constitutional text and that their duty could be met by procedural (or other) votes short of a vote by the yeas and nays on the merits. [FN7] Today's discussion and holding on the meaning of the duty lays any doubt to rest. The members of the General Court are the people's elected representatives, and each one of them has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the Commonwealth. Those members who now seek to avoid their lawful obligations, by a vote to recess without a roll call vote by yeas and nays on the merits of the initiative amendment (or by other procedural vote of similar consequence), ultimately will have to answer to the people who elected them.
The court has made it very clear that the legislature has a "constitutional duty to vote" on the pending anti-gay marriage amendment. I believe that both sides will be claiming victory with this ruling.

This is a civil rights issue. It is just for the legislature to practice civil disobedience by refusing to vote on the pending anti-gay amendment.

If the legislature practices civil disobedience by refusing to vote on the amendment, they will be taking part in a long standing tradition in the commonwealth. Massachusetts has a very long history of civil disobedience when it comes to matters of freedom and civil rights. Let us not forget the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution.


At 9:54 PM, Blogger John Hosty said...

The last election shows the legislators they have no recourse to fear. It was the kiss of death to be endorsed by Article 8 Alliance; nearly every one of their candidates lost. All we need to do is remind them of this. Besides, VoteonMarriage has not made any friends between pushing around women at rallies, and filing suit against the legislators.

At 1:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The SJC is hilarious. Jeez, I wonder if the Lege already knew they'd have to "answer" to the voters, look at how pro-equality forces have been punished at the ballot box! They'll have to answer to us if they take up more time on this nonsense and subject us to every wingnut in America flooding in here with amessage of hate if this gets on the ballot.

Another thing that irks me is that they act like not voting on an amendemnt is unprescedented when it happens every single time. Ridiculous.


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