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    November 09, 2006

    The real vote on marriage

    Posted by: Chris

    Just two days after the midterm elections, a vote today on marriage will be much more important than the ones held in eight states that had ballot measures on the topic Tuesday. Legislators in Massachusetts are convening a Constitutional Convention today and the main topic is whether to approve a petition to put a gay marriage constitutional amendment on the 2008 ballot.

    Map_massachusetts The byzantine rules on amending the state's constitution require that only 50 of the 200 delegates to the "ConCon"  — which includes legislators from both state houses — back putting the marriage ban on the ballot. The petition would have to survive a similar vote next year.

    Both sides acknowledge that gay marriage opponents probably have the 50 votes they need — and perhaps close to 60 — to support the petition, but now comes word that leaders of the state House and Senate may prevent the issue from even coming up for a vote.

    House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi (D), who backs gay marriage, plans to push for a vote to adjourn the ConCon or at least recess it until the new, more Democratic legislature takes office in January. A simple majority of 101 is needed to recess or adjourn, and either outcome would kill the petition, blocking it from the '08 ballot

    Travaglini The wildcard has been Senate President Robert E. Travaglini (D), a gay marriage foe, who will preside over the convention. In a surprise twist, he told the Boston Globe yesterday that he will entertain a motion to recess or adjourn, even before a vote can be taken on the marriage amendment. Outgoing Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican with his eye on an '08 White House run, was predictably apoplectic, charging that "failure to vote is a violation of the oath of office we all take to uphold the constitution." Gov.-elect Deval Patrick, a Democrat who won landslide election, is a strong gay marriage backer put plans to stay out of today's battle.

    For the latest on what happens at the ConCon, stay tuned here or visit the real-time blog from the convention on the website for Bay Windows, Boston's gay and lesbian newspaper.



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