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(Author's note: I am angrier about this story than I have been about anything in a long, long time. Consequently, there is some rather strong language below. Consider yourself warned.)

In Massachusetts, there is a procedure where the people can amend their Constitution. They can collect signatures on petitions, and if they get enough, submit them to the legislature. Then the legislature holds a joint session, as a "Constitutional Convention," and votes on the petition, up or down. It needs only one-quarter to pass; in recognition of the people's determination and initiative, the legislature needs to defeat it by at least 3/4 opposing. If it passes, it needs to go through the same cycle a second time before is placed on the ballot for a yes or no vote in the next general election.

That's the law. That's how it HAS to be done.

Well, not really.

This year, a bunch of the people wanted an amendment banning gay marriage. So they gathered more than enough signatures -- 170,000 -- and submitted them to the legislature. And several months ago, the legislature met in Constitutional Convention and took up the issue. And promptly decided to put it off for a little while -- yesterday, to be precise. Two days AFTER the election, when all the legislators wouldn't have to discuss the matter.

But the Constitution is clear: they HAVE to vote on the issue, up or down.

So they met yesterday, and golly gee, they needed more time to think about it. They re-scheduled it again, this time to January 2, the very last day of the legislative session.

And I'm going to make a prediction: On January 2, the legislature will meet in Constitutional Convention, and promptly adjourn without voting on the matter, in clear and flagrant violation of the Constitution. And since the legislative session will have ended, there's not a goddamned thing that can be done about it.

How am I so comfortable in predicting how this will turn out? Because it's exactly what they did two years ago. The people got their petitions signed, submitted them, the legislature postponed and postponed the vote right up until the last day, then went home without fulfilling their Constitutional obligation.

Now, you would think that the people would be pissed. Lord knows this would never happen in New Hampshire, where we have a Constitutional Right of Revolution and could use that to storm Concord and toss the entire legislature out on its collective asses.

But did the lawmakers who violated their Constitutional duty suffer for their actions? Not exactly. In fact, not a single legislator who voted to illegally kill the petition drive was defeated for re-election on Tuesday. In fact, many of them weren't even opposed in their quest for re-election.

The legislature, collectively, dropped their pants and dumped a steaming load right on to the faces of the people of the state. And last Tuesday, the people gave them a great big wet kiss, with plenty of tongue, in gratitude.

Forget that the issue this time was gay marriage, a subject I happen to support and a lot of you folks oppose. This is far more important and fundamental than the topic. The people of Massachusetts, through the Constitutionally-defined procedure, wanted a chance for the entire state to have a say in a change to the state's Constitution. They did every single thing by the book, and in the end the legislature -- this time, 109 of 200 of them -- told them to fuck off and not bother their betters, who obviously know better and need not bother obeying such silly things as the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. These arrogant pricks are convinced that they can freely flout the law, the will of the people, and the very Constitution of their state with impunity.

And why do they believe this? Because they keep proving they can. There are brief howls of protest, but in the long run they know that it will blow over and they can keep their $50,000+ a year jobs as lawmakers without fear of paying the price at the election polls.

Folks, it's stories like this that led me to create the "Mass. Insanity" category. We just had the midterm elections, and the consensus is that "the people have spoken." There is some argument about just what precisely the people said, but no one -- NO ONE -- is talking about nullifying the whole election and simply keeping the existing House and Senate as is for the next two years.

But in Massachusetts, the Supreme Law of the Commonwealth is not the Constitution, it's whatever the Legislature says goes this week.

I think I finally grasp how this is the state that inflicted the entire nation with Ted Kennedy, Michael Dukakis, and John Kerry, just to name three.

(Both Boston papers have coverage of the Legislature's flagrantly unconstitutional flouting of the law, with the Boston Herald's story being a bit more sensationalistic, while the Boston Globe's more sympathetic -- both eminently predictable. And columnist/talk show host/gadfly Howie Carr has a very cynical take on the matter, but one that has the unfortunate advantage of being indisputably true.)

Update: Herald story link fixed. Thanks, Oyster.


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Comments (27)

They get exactly the goverm... (Below threshold)

They get exactly the goverment they elected.

Jay, the Herald and Globe s... (Below threshold)

Jay, the Herald and Globe stories both link to the Globe story. The Herald story (the one I found) was written by AP and totally bypassed or ignored the entire issue at hand.

My feelings about gay marriage are very close to yours. I understand why some people are against it though too. And I feel there's a way to please both sides (well at least most of them) But it's not about that. There is a right way and a wrong way to get one's way on a matter. And this is the wrong way.

Now you know how most of th... (Below threshold)

Now you know how most of the country felt about the Congress that was jsut voted out of Washington. I suffer(ed) with you Jay.

There's a difference betwee... (Below threshold)

There's a difference between being a disenfranchised voting minority (which is how things are suppose to work), and a disenfranchised voting majority.

I think I finally grasp ... (Below threshold)

I think I finally grasp how this is the state that inflicted the entire nation with Ted Kennedy, Michael Dukakis, and John Kerry, just to name three.

Better late than never, Jay. Welcome on board.

Republicans let Democrats d... (Below threshold)

Republicans let Democrats do anything they want. Case in point: Clinton was never booted out of office or prisoned for his actions.

Are you kidding? It's ridi... (Below threshold)

Are you kidding? It's ridiculous to even contemplate allowing the majority to vote on a minority CIVIL RIGHT's issue. What if we did that for any other civil right in the past? Would interracial marriage still be here? Womens' suffrage? etc It really blows my mind.

Also, amendment 19 was voted on and 100% of the legislatures voted against it. That amendment was to ban gay marriage.

Amendment 20, they voted to recess till Jan. 2nd. There's nothing unconstitutional about that. They have the right to do so and it was the morally right thing to do.

Expect similar happenings h... (Below threshold)

Expect similar happenings here in NH soon via unelected judges. Having fled to the NH Seacoast from the People's Republic of Massachusetts 2 years ago I find myself surrounded by other Massholes, voting D at every opportunity.

I hear that Ken Mehlman and... (Below threshold)

I hear that Ken Mehlman and Rev. Haggard were opening a lobbying firm in Mass?

Paul: remind me again: how ... (Below threshold)

Paul: remind me again: how exactly did women receive the right to vote in this country? (Hint: it wasn't imposed by the courts.)

Paul, the government has no... (Below threshold)

Paul, the government has no rights. It merely has powers we give to it. Nor, when looking over the Masshole constitution, can I see a declared power to violate the previous responsibility.

As to voting on civil rights about a minority? I don't see why not. I mean, anti-slavery Lincoln was elected. Women's suffrage didn't involve the courts.

And, interestingly, these groups worked on the rights first, rather than the papers and the name.

Jay,Not being up o... (Below threshold)


Not being up on the Mass Constitution, can you clip the part of it that requires them to do it on a certain time table?


Don't forget that jackass M... (Below threshold)

Don't forget that jackass Mitt Romney, Jay. He could have stopped this dead in its tracks by forbidding the issuance of 'marriage licences' to gay couples. He has that power. But he's too much of a gutless coward to use it. The lavender mafia of Morrisey Boulevard has bullied him into silence.

Paul - marriage isn't a 'civil right,' asshat. But of course, you blow by the whole point of Jay's rant, which is that the filthy whores in the Legislature gave a big middle finger to the people of Massachusetts who think the Constitution means something, and isn't just an Etch-A-Sketch to be shaken and rewritten whenever the noisiest, most politically-correct cause du jour comes along.

What happened is that the gutless pricks in the Mass Legislature were afraid. The Globe might cluck its tongue in disapproval. Fabulous Bruce and Doc Marten'd Diana might call them "homophobes" or even "theocrats." Can't have that.

As Jay points out, each of the sleazy bastards have been re-elected. They will continue to be re-elected. They will never suffer for this. But that's just fine with you, Paul, isn't it? Just so long as those knuckle-dragging Jeebus freaks lose, you don't care about the awful precedent that's been set.

To be honest, I expected this. NH has the right idea - starve your solons, make them actually work at honest jobs rather than make a career out of keeping their lying asses in the State House. Politicians are thieves, liars and scum, and anyone entering politics should be treated as though they were a convicted child molester (like Gerry Studds).

Oh, well - my plan to move out of this liberal hellhole just got bumped up by a couple of years.

FOR THE LAST FREAKING TIME,... (Below threshold)


I am so sick of hearing that it is. Gay people have the exact same rights as straight people do. There is no Constitutional issue that says otherwise. They have equal protection under the law - they can marry one single member of the opposite sex just like the rest of us. Comparing the issue to the right of women or racial minority rights is absurd.

Sorry, Jay, but the supreme... (Below threshold)

Sorry, Jay, but the supreme law of Massachusetts is not what the legislature says, it's what the [UN]Democratic Party says it is.

An earlier commentator said it correctly: they are getting the government that they deserve. They voted year after year for a political party that runs crocked elections, undermines the democratic process, and puts judges in place who read things into the law and the constitution that aren't there. The state constitution and the laws of the state mean whatever they want it to mean.

And the people are treated like children.
They can't be trusted to make a decision about something like this: they might make the wrong decision. It is far better for our Democratic Overlords to make these decisions for us.
That's why they take away more and more of your money: you're not going to spend it the right way.
That's why you can't have a gun to protect your family: you'd just hurt yourself.
That's why we need to tax bad things out of existence: you shouldn't be buying them.
That's why you shouldn't make decisions about Social Security: the Government knows better than you.
That's why you shouldn't be allowed health care choices: Government-sanction HMOs will remove those difficult decisions from you.

Rep. Pelosi said that this election was about the children. Folks, you're the children.

[Coming soon to New Hampshire.]

This post is another exampl... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

This post is another example of why I can't call them "democrats". You'd think someone who was a democrat would believe in, honor, and respect democracy. Those on the left do not. The term "Democratic Party" has become a euphemism for the secular regressive socialist party.

Another great example is in Michigan. Proposal 2 passed which bans discrimination in government and public institutions in this state. The bigots on the left love to discriminate so they will do everything to thwart the will of the voters. The secular regressive socialists are now trying to sue the majority of the voters in the state because they belive this newly passed law is against the law.

To those on the left, anything that does not fit into the secular regressive socialist worldview should be outlawed. Bunch of freaking fascists those lefties are.

P Bunyan:If you're... (Below threshold)

P Bunyan:

If you're going to run off at the mouth with inane horeshit at least get it correct.

Fascism is the extreme right wing....kinda like you. Sheeeesh

Hugh,I realize tha... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:


I realize that you belong to the secular regressive socialist church and therefor see everything ass backwards, but I'll try to explain this so someone with a 3-year-old's menatality can understand.

Fascism as defined by Merriam-Webster is "a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control"

When a very tiny group of people create laws that are opposed by the majority of the electorate, that is fascism.

There are tons and tons of examples of this on the left. From the Michigan pro-discrimination lefties I cited above, to Roe v. Wade, to the Mass. gay marriage diktat, to all the law suits that are filed when the secular regressive socialist candidate looses an election, and on and on it goes.

Trying to force the will of a very small minority on everyone else, not by the democratic process, but rather though judicial diktat is autocratic, dictatorial, and it is fascism, plain and simple.

Anyone who has developed mentally beyond the level of the average 3 year old should be able to see that.

For that matter, having a m... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

For that matter, having a media that is overwhelmingly dominated by secular regressive socialists who only report about 10% of the true story in an effort to keep Average Joe informationally retarded is fascism, too.

If you want to get a good, close-up look at a fascist Hugh, you need look no further than the nearist mirror.

Paul, you're absolutely rig... (Below threshold)

Paul, you're absolutely right. The legislature can vote on it on January 2.

And, as the old saying goes, monkeys might fly out of my ass.

Why don't you put your money where your mouth is? I will bet you that the ConCon will adjourn without voting on that Measure they tabled yesterday. You seem to think they will. Let's talk stakes here, Paulie.


While you're answering guys... (Below threshold)

While you're answering guys named Paul... ;-)

I'm still confused why you (and I think others) say this is illegal. It might be sly and against the sprit of the law but I spent 20 min and I don't see where they are compelled to act on a timetable. This ~strikes~ me as the same argument as "Bush's illegal war" but I don't know maybe it is illegal...

Can you point me?


(that usual P)

DELETED and while it is not... (Below threshold)

DELETED and while it is not my post, I'm going to talk to Kev about banning.


"I'm still confused why you... (Below threshold)

"I'm still confused why you (and I think others) say this is illegal."

It violates the MA. constitution, but the MA. SJC has ruled that there are NO consequences for that action. The hacks chose to recess instead of adjourn. If they adjourned, current Gov. Mitt could order state police to drag their asses back and keep them there until they take a vote. But as it gets closer to Gov. Deval......hahaha guess what he thinks....it's over NO consequences, and mASS sucks as usual.
People of mASS get what they deserve, every normal person should move asap.

And i,ll bet when it comes ... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

And i,ll bet when it comes to voting themselves a pay raise its done imediatly or if it somes to voting for some pork project its done right that minute what when it comes to the will of the poeople they drag their feet. the citizens of massachusetts need better then these idiots

seamus, nice way to delve d... (Below threshold)

seamus, nice way to delve down to personal insults.

Oh, and I'm saving it for the wedding night, so you're way off anyway.

Sorry about that SilverBubb... (Below threshold)

Sorry about that SilverBubble... If something like that happens again, just email one of us.


Having served in this body ... (Below threshold)

Having served in this body before (in the 1980's), this is just SOP -- which makes their behavior all the more infuriating. There are so few genuinely legitimate and substantial constitutional amendments offered that actually get to the point where sufficient certified signatures are presented, it is an obscene insult that the ConCon would contrive to avoid an up or down vote on the matter.

Lefties with a shred of intellectual honesty have to admit that this issue is genuine and fundamental -- and they ought to have the courage to fight the issue out in the open where it belongs, not rely on those in power to exercise procedural subterfuge to thwart a proper and constitutional vote on the question.

It seems to me that any member who votes (ultimately) to deny the citizens a vote on this question should be targeted...oh, wait -- that's right. There is no more Repblican Party in this state.

Never mind.






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