Skip to comments.Group: Oust gay-wed judges
Posted on 03/28/2004 6:24:03 AM PST by Radix
An anti-gay-marriage crusader said he expects a legislative bill will be filed this week to remove the four Supreme Judicial Court justices who supported homosexual unions, while pro-gay activists took to the streets to drum up support yesterday.
Brian Camenker of the Article 8 Alliance - a group of several hundred activists named for the Massachusetts Constitution provision that holds ``the people have a right . . . to cause their public officer to return to private life'' - says a legislative recall makes more sense than constitutional amendments that have been tying the State House in knots.
``It's the intended remedy when justices do not properly interpret the law,'' said Camenker. ``We cannot credibly call ourselves a democracy when our most basic laws can be undone by four unelected, appointed officials.''
A sharply divided Legislature will reconvene its Constitutional Convention to try again to address proposed amendments banning gay marriage and instituting civil unions in response to the SJC's November ruling that would allow gay marriage by May 17.
Lawmakers, who continue their Constitutional Convention tomorrow, have given preliminary approval to a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage and, at the same time, legalize civil unions for same-sex couples.
Camenker said the amendment proposals have created ``chaos,'' and noted that an up-or-down vote on removing the judges could resolve the issue before May 17, while an amendment would take at least two years. Camenker said he has the quiet backing of several unidentified legislators he expects will come forward this week and file the bill on his behalf. The Legislature would then need to approve the legislation and the governor sign it before the justices could be removed.
Specifically, Article 98 of the Massachusetts Constitution says that judges shall ``hold their offices during good behavior'' but can be removed by the governor with consent of the governor's council ``upon address of both houses of the legislature.''
But supporters of gay marriage - who counter that the four judges acted appropriately in defense of equal rights - said they have found more evidence in mainstream Massachusetts of support for their cause.
Patty Connelly, canvassing in Burlington for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force yesterday, said, ``We had a much larger percentage of people who were willing to sign their names than we thought.''
About 120 canvassers who went door to door in the suburbs and several Boston neighborhoods connected with 819 voters yesterday morning, of whom 416 - 50.7 percent - agreed to sign postcards to be delivered to legislators, the task force said. Another 160 - 19.5 percent - were on the fence, though Connelly said many were open to civil unions and opposed the idea of an anti-marriage amendment. A total of 243 - 29.6 percent - opposed gay marriage entirely, while nine - 1.1 percent - were anti-gay activists.
I'll believe that when I see it.
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