Yesterday the Mass legislature defeated an amendment to the State Constitution that would have put an anti-gay marriage ballot initiative in front of voters next year. This wasn’t a surprise. Even though the forces from the religious right who have poured people and money into the state since the Mass Supreme Court overturned anti-gay marriage laws only needed a quarter of the legislature to back them up – 50 votes – the word was they didn’t have it.
And they didn’t. The measure lost by 5 votes. New Democratic Gov Patrick Deval put a lot of time and energy into cooling down any potential hotheads, which was good of him and maybe it made a difference. But the truth is that the right-wing whackos who have been inundating us with prophesies of doom if the Supreme Court’s decision wasn’t overturned have been terminally embarrassed by the total lack of any negative effect of the law. Or any positive effect, for that matter. No one can find any difference in the way life proceeds in the state of Massachusetts between pre-gay marriage years and post-gay marriage years.
The sky, you see, contrary to all the predictions by the members of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family who’ve been shooting off their mouths for the last 3 years, didn’t fall. Crops didn’t fail, goats weren’t born with two heads, straight marriage rates didn’t change, teenagers didn’t start fornicating in the streets, and Satan didn’t buy a place in Back Bay.
Really, nothing happened. Nothing.
More than anything else, that’s what defeated them. Led by the Mass Family Institute, Dobson’s local FOF subsidiary, gay marriage opponents have been trying to sell the law as the end of civilization, making claims for its destructive powers so hysterically inflated that it was as if you were being button-holed by a group of schizophrenics insisting that if you didn’t pass a law forcing everyone to wear cast-iron skivvies, the forest would turn into wheels of bleu cheese and your children would be kidnapped by clams. Legislators simply looked around after three years, noted that they still couldn’t spread tree bark on wheat thins and their children remained unmolested by rampaging clams, and dismissed the loonies.
The legislature may have been fighting about this but no one else has been. After the first year of gay marriage legality, a year notably free of volcanic eruptions and divine fire raining from the sky, your ordinary Mass citizen said, “Oh,” and paid no further attention to it. The MFI had a helluva time getting enough signatures on their petitions to force this vote, and the next time, as catastrophes continue failing to materialize, it will be even harder.
Unfortunately, there will be a next time, of course. Self-righteous Dobson minions already promise they will be embarrassing themselves with even more dire predictions in the future.
“We’re not going away,” said Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, which led the voter signature drive to get the proposed constitutional ban before the Legislature. “But it’s certainly a setback.”
More than that, I’m afraid, Kris.
Opponents of same-sex marriage, who had been optimistic they could hold their votes, vowed to continue the fight, possibly through a new petition drive. That process would require, once again, the collection of hundreds of thousands of signatures and the approval of at least 50 lawmakers in two consecutive legislative sessions. Secretary of State William F. Galvin said last night that the question could not be placed before voters until at least 2012.
So if 3 years of non-consequences made this drive a big yawn, you really think 5 more years of peace and tranquility are somehow going to magically change the outcome?
Yes, they probably do. That’s the problem with fanatics. No matter how often you prove to them they’re wrong and ask them to go away and leave you alone, it’s over, they refuse to accept the obvious. The best we can hope for is enriched entertainment value. It’s like when an action film franchise has to keep topping itself with bigger and bigger explosions every time out until it becomes so incredibly silly even fans won’t go see it any more. I can’t wait to hear what the next round of doom-predictions will be.