By Terry Vanderheyden
BOSTON, November 28, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A family advocacy coalition has submitted double the required number of signatures necessary to ensure voters have an opportunity to overturn a 2003 activist court decision by voting on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex “marriage” during the 2008 general election.
VoteOnMarriage.org collected over 120,000 signatures in time for the Wednesday deadline. “I credit this phenomenal effort to thousands of citizen volunteers and over 1,200 communities of faith – including Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim – who have worked tirelessly to give every citizen in the Commonwealth a voice in how marriage is defined in Massachusetts,” said Kris Mineau, president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org.
Presently, 19 states have passed constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Several more have “Defense of Marriage” laws that preclude their states from recognizing same sex marriages and/or civil unions performed in other states. Federally, the Defense of Marriage Law, passed by President Clinton, precludes the federal government from recognizing same sex marriages.
Having collected nearly double the necessary 65,825 signatures, VoteOnMarriage.org is highly confident that well over the required number of signatures will be certified by the Secretary of State. “What the citizens of Massachusetts have done is roll up their sleeves and assume their legal rights as citizens to have a voice in government,” Mineau added.
Presently, cities and towns are processing petitions and will continue to do so through December 5. On December 7, the final number of petitions will be tallied and will be brought to the office of the Secretary of State who has the responsibility of certification. With 65,825 certified signatures, the petition then must be approved by 25% of the legislature, or 50 members, in two successive sessions before it goes to the ballot in 2008. A simple majority of citizens voting in support of the referendum will make it an amendment to the state constitution.
The next question is whether Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi, who has gone on record saying that lawmakers must make sure that the issue of same-sex marriage “never, ever appears as a question on the ballot,” and others in the legislature, will take away the rights of Massachusetts citizens to vote on marriage.
“Citizens must insist that their elected representatives act honestly and ethically and allow this vote to occur. Then and only then will the matter of marriage be settled in Massachusetts,” Mineau concluded.
A Zogby International poll conducted in 2004 found that 69% of likely voters in Massachusetts want to vote on a constitutional amendment to keep Massachusetts a traditional marriage state. A Bay State Poll, however, conducted in October, claims only 37 percent support for the amendment while 53 percent were opposed, according to the Center for Public Opinion Research at Merrimack College.
Meanwhile a homosexual advocacy group plans to publish the names and home addresses of petition signers at their web site, www.knowthyneighbor.org, in an effort to intimidate supporters of traditional marriage. The action may however backfire on homosexual activists who risk angering grassroots voters even more with their harsh tactics and rejection of democratic process.
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Massachusetts Attorney General Approves Ballot for Gay “Marriage” Constitutional Amendment Vote
Poll Reveals More than Two-thirds of Massachusetts Voters Want Vote on Marriage
Massachusetts Churches Collect 25,000 Signatures in One Weekend for Ballot on Homosexual “Marriage”