Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Recourse on Marriage Equality

Today’s loss was not completely unexpected. But, in some ways, it was still a surprise. Despite the fact that I thought the Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling would likely result in a vote today, I wrote one of my last blogs about how we were giving too much attention to gay issues. My mind, which understood the implications of the SJC’s ruling, wasn’t quite in sync with my heart - which knows there are hundreds of issues that should be more important, if not for the fact that a very basic right is still under attack in Massachusetts. It’s funny how minds and hearts work.
But my heart was wrong, because 62 state legislators decided the fighting over gay marriage hasn’t been bitter enough. They’ve decided we need to air out our differences for yet another year, when this issue should have been dead and settled. They’ve decided that it’s okay to put human rights up to a vote, where a mere majority can decide something as personal as marriage.

However, the ante has been upped. Foes of equality have forced the issue, masked by the never-investigated fraud that pushed their way unto Beacon Hill. It’s time for some supporters of equality to start to do the work necessary to ultimately defeat opponents of equality for good.
I don’t want to fight for my rights anymore. Fighting for my rights has only lead to gridlock, heartbreak, tears and nightmares. I’m sick of trying to convince people that everyone deserves to love the one they’re with. But I’m not willing to go back to the way things were either, where it was okay to be gay - as long as you shut up about it. No, it isn’t time to give up - it’s time to change tactics.

It’s time to take the fight to them. The time to merely educate is over. If state legislators haven’t learned by now, they lack the skills necessary to serve.

The time is now to take on every opponent of marriage equality. State legislators who voted against marriage equality need to understand that their jobs can be very, very temporary. They need to understand the concept of retribution. They need to understand that they’re about to be fired.

Enough is enough - if people are going to continue to argue about marriage equality, we’re going to take them out come primary time. It’s democracy at its finest. We’re not going to be polite, we’re not going to be timid - we’re going to be the Donald Trumps in the room, firing people who just don’t get it.

For all the talk about upholding the constitution, our state cannot tolerate state legislators willing to uphold inequality. We will not tolerate legislators who are willing to uphold hatred and bigotry. We will not tolerate legislators who think their love is more deserving than the love between two men or two women. Love knows no gender: people who can’t accept that do not belong among the elected officials of this state. It’s time they be fired.

Gay-right supporters have already had some success. Multiple opponents of marriage equality have lost reelection. No supporters of marriage equality have lost. Do opponents think they’re on the winning side? Hardly. But there’s so much more potential to make our point - it’s time we create a unified campaign, bringing together all of our skills.

Where does today lead us? The people among MassEquality and other, similar organizations need to do the work they’ve done all these years - convince the legislature that they don’t want to be on the wrong side of history. They need to continue to hold the rallies and push the legislator in the right direction. People who can be taught need to learn.
But some state legislators just need to go away. There are plenty of jobs available to help in the effort. Anyone willing to be drafted?

Many organizations across the state have resources aplenty to take on this task. It’s time to pick some weak state legislators now and start working on fielding primary opponents to defeat them. Homophobic representatives like Joyce Spiliotis in Peabody have never won a decisive primary victory and we cannot stand for their service any longer. It’s time they lose, once and for all. When we start a unified campaign with select targets, others will quickly get the message - whether we win or lose. But with our money, ability to spread information and vast array of volunteers - we’re going to win. Big.

For groups like Knowthyneighbor.org, MassEquality, Marriage Equality Alliance of the South Coast and dozens of others, the tasks are obvious. But what role can bloggers, readers and regular people take on? Beyond organizing, opining, lobbying and doing the thousands of things we do everyday - there’s little to no information available on State Senators and Representatives. Their state websites are next to useless and there are few organizations keeping track of all their legislative votes and positions on easy-to-access databases (hey KTN, can we get a database on that?). Readers and bloggers need to start digging up the dirt we’ll need to defeat our legislative opponents. We need to start driving the news and forcing the issue. We need to advance the movement.

Most of all, we need recourse. We need to personally end this debate and ensure equality for one and all.


laurel said...

Something already missing from the news that needs to be shoved in the legs;ature's face: the NEGLECTED their OATH-BOUND DUTY TO VOTE on the HC amendmnet. But they sure as hell were there in their star spangled glory to carry out that duty on the marriage amendment, weren't they? This fact must NOT be lost in the shuffle. Romney did NOT have a victory today, because the legis DID dodge another amendment vote.

As for retribution at the polls, I'm with you there, but remember that unfortunately we don't have another election before the next concon. So we can can some assholes, but it won't help the vote count.

bostonph said...

You forget - the new legislature hasn't take office yet.

It would be interesting to see how many people who voted for the amendment were lame ducks.

Anonymous said...

No, laurel, Romney did win a great victory today, because like his followers, he's a hypocrite. It's not about the process, it's about the hate. Hate carried the day, and now they can dodge amendment votes from now until doomsday without a peep from anyone. The media won't care, the SJC won't care. Big freaking surprise. Well, David's going to be shocked when his staunch allies like Peter Porcupine and Ray Flynn all of a sudden don't care about the process anymore, maybe a tip off should have been the fact that signature fraud was fine by them, but that's about it. Wake me up when the need for up or down votes EVER becomes an issue that resonates with anyone again and I'll be sleeping longer than Rip Van Winkle.

Doesn't matter, bostonph, there aren't 13 lame ducks. It may not be 62 votes, but it'll be more than 50. And now every Scaife in the country is going to send money, every Fred Phelps is going to come here. It's going to be two years of hell.

Anonymous said...

Peter Porcupine is busy crying crocodile tears about the health care amendment over on BMG.

One of the weaknesses of the liberal movement is forgetting the Republican party thinks of this not as a matter of people's rights, but a battle in the cultural war.

We might see this as about love. Ms. Porcupine sees it as an issue of power and money. Defeating liberals is her JOB.

Please remember her words and actions next time she comes slithering back to whisper lies.

Anonymous said...

"Peter Porcupine is busy crying crocodile tears about the health care amendment over on BMG"

Well, duh, I'm sure that for the next two years, every once in a while she'll toss off a little muttering about what a *travesty* it all is, and how it may not seem like she cares about it at all in comparision to her one-woman jihad against the gays for those [insert made up figure of oppressed citizens], but in her *heart* it's just as big an issue to her, it's the *principle*. lmao

"Ms. Porcupine sees it as an issue of power and money. Defeating liberals is her JOB."

Well, yeah. Have disseminated talking points, shill travels. Who's not clear on that?

lenstewart said...

So, I agree with you, Ryan, that we need to be louder and more effective. Of course, electing new Reps in November of 2008 won't change anything in the upcoming session that votes on this again. But, maybe the very real threat of running and supporting strong primary opponents might be enough to swing some votes from "yes" to "no". After all, one of the most important jobs a legislator has is to remain in power. And, while they don't all get the "social justice" argument, every one of them understands the "remaining in power" argument right well.

That, and maybe getting more visible. Rather than 50 people at our rally on Cape, we needed 200. The hearty souls who were outside the statehouse yesterday needed another 500 of their friends there to pitch in.

That's where I want us to go on this. I refuse to be a victim of bad government. I want us instead to be victors, and overcome bad government.

Laurel said...

lenstewart, I totally agree - we need to be more visible. But I think to be effective, it has to happen daily, not just at rallies. We need to be prepared, as individuals, to join LGBT speakers bureaus, or go door-to-door canvassing with MassEquality or another org. The subject doesn't even have to be marriage specifically, just civil equality and safety for gays. I think this is the key (although other activities will help too)

Ryan Adams said...

Changing the guard in two years WILL effect the vote a year from now.

It's going to force reps to go on record ahead of time and know that their positions are going to potentially make them lose. It takes a long time to get field opponents, raise money and start the campaign. If we start early, based on this issue, we can force a lot of state legislators to change their vote.

People may have said that the SJC's decision a week or so ago wouldn't effect yesterday's vote - because the SJC couldn't do anything about what they saw as a violation of the constitution - but it obviously DID effect the outcome.

Just like going on a huge offensive/movement will effect vote outcomes a year from now. If people know that there are going to be hundreds or even thousands of volunteers to replace morally bankrupt polititians over this issue - they'll change their vote.

Anonymous said...

The vote doesn't have to happen a year from now, it can be put off until the very last day of the new legislators' term, I believe. So I could be put off until after the '08 election, though only the reps sworn in as of today wuld get a vote.

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