Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Profiles in Courage

If JFK's ghost writer Ted Sorenson had was still penning that famous book, he might just have to add a chapter on the Massachusetts State Legislators, finally.

In fact, In an indication of the anger and emotion at the State House, State Rep. Charles Murphy (D), who has been critical of House leadership, called on MA House Speaker Thomas Finneran (D) to resign. Murphy blamed Finneran for failing over the years to allow floor votes on civil union and domestic partnership bills pushed by gay rights advocates. Murphy said the court case that led to the SJC decision might have never occurred had the House worked with the Senate on gay rights legislation.

"Tom Finneran has gotten us into another constitutional crisis," Murphy
said. "He's been sitting on this. He's an embarrassment. And I think, quite frankly, Tom Finneran should resign. I am not happy with his leadership. We need new leadership in this House. I'm pissed. I'm tired of it." Finneran, who is known for his ruthless wielding of power, was not immediately available to comment.

While it is true that the legislature has punted serveral times on the issue while Goodridge was being decided, they agreed to face the music today.

The vote will be close. No one knows how it will come out, although it might be likely that a ban on gay marriages is directly tied to approving civil unions in the constitution. Although the leadership wants this, the far right and far left and working overtime to kil it.
“This hurts us,” said Arline Isaacson, co-chair of the Massachusetts Gay
and Lesbian Political Caucus. She worried the amendment would undercut
support for same-sex marriage by offering lawmakers an alternative that
appears to be equitable to gays and lesbians. MA Senate President Travaglini (D) said it is equivalent in the rights it confers. Isaacson told the State House News that civil unions offer 1,000 fewer benefits – for example hospital visitation rights in other states. MA Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and other opponents of gay marriage have said they oppose enshrining civil unions in the state Constitution.

After hundreds of calls and letters, my boss decided to stick to her conscience and not bow to the whims of those who had called and written to threaten her political life. The more calls I get from people detesting "fudge packers," the more I am inclined to agree with my boss and not let the people vote on this issue in 2006. Clearly, gay and lesbians are in the minority. And while Massachusetts has a liberal reputation, the Catholic church is working overtime to defeat this bill.

Speaking of votes, political lives and so on, my dream candidate, General Wesley Kanne Clark (Retired), is appearantly bowing out of the race today after finishing distant third in Virgina and a more narrow third in Tennesse. Kerry, of course, won both states handily

It all leaves me extremely sad and wondering what went so wrong? I think Clark has the answer: "I wish I had, too. Everything might have been different" -- Clark, in response to a supporter who said he should have competed in IA. It was all about momentum. No one knows much about Kerry, except he served in Vietnam and vowed to be tough. His special interests Bob Shrum speech isn't doing it. It is the fact that he won IA from behind, and then didn't lose until OK and SC, but then won all the rest. He is seen as a winner because he has won primaries and caucus, not because he is actually electable. It would have worked about the same way for Edwards and maybe even Dean (although I think the South won't have been as kind to him).

Another trouble with Clark is that he was a mix of Kerry, Edwards, and Dean; all the good parts in my opinion. But unfortunately, he wasn't polished and although he got better towards the end, the mistakes in the fall cost him dearly. Clark could really differentiate himself from Dean, but when the race flipped on its head, he had no contrast for Kerry, no way of winning back. The same could be said of Edwards, Lieberman and so on. That inability to turn on a dime sunk him. Clark's best time was December, his worst obviously, was February 10th.

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