YES! This op-ed in the Boston Globe gets it right. And I hope a certain 62 cowardly legislators take the time to read it and feel the shame they so duly earned with their vote yesterday:
SIXTY-TWO state legislators voted to shrink the civil rights of
citizens yesterday when they advanced a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Every effort should be made now to kill the measure by reducing that number below 50 when the issue comes up again before the newly elected Legislature. Massachusetts
One of the key arguments raised by opponents of gay marriage is also one of the most spurious: that, having filed more than 123,000 certified signatures for the amendment, they have a right to see it go on the 2008 ballot.
There is no such right.
In this case, a vote for the amendment is a vote to eliminate a civil right that is contained in the state Constitution -- a shameful and perhaps unique reversal of the long forward march of civil rights progress, both locally and nationally. Each such vote is, as Governor-elect Deval Patrick said yesterday, "irresponsible and wrong."
Opponents of gay marriage say that the one-quarter vote requirement exists to protect the rights of minorities, yet they are trying to use this process to extinguish minority rights.
And to what end? We are still waiting to hear of the first heterosexual couple whose marriage has been damaged by the more than 8,500 same-sex marriages performed here since 2004.
We believe Massachusetts voters would not take away this right, and a popular endorsement might be considered healthy. But civil rights are fundamental, and gay marriage should not be subject to plebiscite here, any more than it would have been appropriate to have Alabama voters directly decide school integration or Virginia voters decide interracial marriage.
This is a great piece. I strongly recommend reading the whole thing.