The Words of the Jenkins Family

Congrats - Boston District, Rev. Buessing and Rev. Edgerly - Marriage Amendment

Michael Jenkins
January 3, 2007

Dear Family,

The Boston District of blessed families of all generations played a significant role in joining with the Marriage Family Institute's efforts to educate the Massachusetts legislature to consider creating a constitutional amendment to define marriage as that between a man and a woman. According to the NY Times the legislature voted in favor of this consideration when many thought it was already killed in last years deliberations.

God Bless our courageous volunteers for having faith.

With Love,

Rev. Michael Jenkins

New York Times
Massachusetts Considers Gay Marriage Ban
By Pam Belluck
Published: January 2, 2007

BOSTON, Jan. 2 -- Massachusetts, the only state where same-sex marriage is legal, took a first step toward banning it today when legislators voted to advance a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union between a man and a woman.

The amendment still needs to be approved by at least 50 legislators in another vote in the 2007-2008 session. Then it would be placed on the November 2008 ballot as a popular referendum. If it passed, the amendment would not do away with the more than 8,000 same-sex marriages that have taken place since they became legal in May 2004. But it would prevent future marriages of gay men and lesbians.

The swiftness of the vote today surprised people on both sides of the issue, taking place without any prior debate, just minutes after the constitutional convention had been gaveled into session. Proponents of the amendment needed just 50 of the legislatureís 200 lawmakers to support it; the final vote was 61 in favor of the amendment and 132 opposed.

"Itís quite amazing to us that they moved so quickly to vote on the merits of this issue, and that after all the time that this issue has been around and the thousands of lives affected by it, they would move to vote on the issue without even debating," said Arline Isaacson, co-chairwoman of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus.

The situation remained fluid for much of this afternoon. After a recess, the Massachusetts legislature voted 117 to 75 to approve a motion to reconsider the amendment question. Later in the day, lawmakers voted 62 to 134 to reaffirm the initial results.

Just two months ago, at an earlier constitutional convention, the legislature appeared to have essentially killed the proposal. During that November session, legislators recessed without voting on the amendment, tabling it until the last possible moment, Jan. 2, the last day of the legislative session. Both sides said they expected that lawmakers would then vote to end the session without taking up the measure, which would stop the amendment from proceeding further.

But last week, the stateís Supreme Judicial Court, which three years ago ruled that same-sex marriage should be legal, threw a wrench into things.

The court issued a new ruling chiding lawmakers for their maneuvers to avoid a vote on the amendment in November and saying that the legislature had demonstrated "indifference to, or defiance of, its constitutional duties."

The court said that it was not empowered to order the legislature to vote on the amendment, which petitioners, including Gov. Mitt Romney, had asked it to do. But the courtís criticism of the legislature appeared to be enough to make some lawmakers decide to allow a vote today, even legislators who support same-sex marriage and hope the amendment will ultimately be defeated.

"Certainly, the court ruling changed the atmosphere this week, in that legislators took a second look at their job description, at their oath of office, at a higher obligation actually, to uphold the constitution," said Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, which sponsored the amendment.

Ms. Isaacson said the courtís decision "really tipped the scales against us."

Todayís in initial vote was considered a victory for Governor Romney, a Republican who has used his opposition to same-sex marriage as a conservative rallying point over the last two years as he has laid the groundwork for an expected run for the presidency. Mr. Romneyís last day as governor is Wednesday, and on that day he is expected to file papers to form a presidential exploratory committee.

The incoming governor, Deval L. Patrick, is a same-sex marriage supporter, the first African-American governor of Massachusetts and the first Democrat to occupy the governorís office in 16 years. Today, before the constitutional convention, Mr. Patrick had met with the state House and Senate leaders, both Democrats, to urge them to find a way to defeat the amendment, even it meant adjourning without voting on it.

Mr. Patrick said in a statement that he objected to using the constitutional amendment process "to give a minority fewer freedoms than the majority," and he urged the legislature to close the book on the issue because there are "far more pressing issues before the legislature and the commonwealth."

He told reporters before the convention, that "I hope by whatever means appropriate, the constitutional convention today ends this debate. I think a vote on adjournment is a vote on the merits."

Katie Zezima contributed reporting.

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