Thursday, June 14, 2007

deja vu all over again

(© 2004 Daniel Bersak)
I have been blogging for a long time, since 2002 in fact. (remember when MyDD was called "my due diligence"?) But I didn't start to get serious traffic until my boss State Representative Debby Blumer (D-Framingham)was called upon to vote in a Massachusetts Constitutional Convention ("ConCon") whether to uphold Goodridge [v. MPH].

Debby was a liberal, but also a pragmatist. So she had supported a bill calling for civil unions for gays and lesbians for a number of years. But after Goodridge came down in November 2003, she and other liberals banded together to strategize how to preserve the courts holding from an onslaught led by then-Gov. Romney (who had realized this was his chance to gain attention so he could run for president like his dad had as Governor of Michigan). As her staffer, I was responsible for among other things, constituent services and contact. Letters, emails and phone calls poured in, not just from her district, or from Massachusetts, and not just from around the country, but from all over the world.

As people began to pour their hearts out to us, sending pictures and telling us personal tales (as well as threats and hate mail), I began to realize why civil unions wasn't enough. I blogged about what was going on inside Rep. Blumer's group and the strategy. That got me in trouble with her, and rightly so.

But I also got emails and comments from people around the country thanking me for explaining to them what the heck was going on. We won that fight, and then-Speaker Finneran's civil union proposal narrowly lost.

Thos opposed to gay marriage, including Rep. Blumer's colleagues in one of her committees (meaning their "offices" was only a few feet away from each other) sued all the way to US supreme court and kept trying to revive a ballot initiative in the state legislature (called the "General Court" in Massachusetts).

Today, the latest one failed again. Rep. Grogen and his allies only needed 50 out of 200 State Representatives and State Senators to support it, but got a mere 41. Nearly four years after Goodridge, the sky hasn't fallen on Massachusetts. The divorce rate in Massachusetts is the lowest in the country (Bush's adopted home of Texas has the highest). The more people get to know gay and lesbian couples, they realize that these couples aren't so different from married friends they have.

I just wish Debbie was still alive today to see that marriage equality was basically guaranteed (the next time they could put it to a vote is 2012, good luck by then) in her home state. So while a flood of memories come back, I am excited for the future.

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