WAKEFIELD, Ma. -- The Massachusetts legislatures who met for the state's Constitutional Convention last week agreed on a “compromise” ban on homosexual marriage: define marriage as a union between man and woman, but at the same time allow civil unions to gay couples. The compromise sparked criticism from both sides of the field, seemingly satisfying no one.
On the one hand, homosexuals argued that civil unions do not have the same recognition and acknowledgment as marriage. They wanted, therefore, not only the full benefits of marriage, but also the full recognition of their unions.
On the other hand, pro-family activists saw that civil unions, which offer legal benefits equivalent to those given to marriages, are in essence the same as “faux marriages.” A marriage by any other name, they argued, is still a marriage.
Therefore, Christian and pro-family groups in Massachusetts began moving against this compromise; if lawmakers decide again on a marriage amendment that contains civil unions during the March 29 constitutional convention, a pastor-led civilian group said it will begin its own petition to ban both gay “marriages” and civil unions in the state.
``We're talking about the benchmark foundational institution of all civilization since time immemorial,'' said Rev. Michael Carl of Greenwood Union Church in Wakefield Mass.
Rev. Carl announced that he is already recruiting candidates against incumbents backing gay marriage. The move is significant because citizen-initiated petitions only require the support of 25 percent of lawmakers, unlike legislative amendment that must receive a majority vote in the 200-member Legislature.
Statistics from the first two constitutional conventions show that there are easily 50 lawmakers who would vote for the complete ban on the recognition of homosexual unions.
However, to get the petition to lawmakers next spring, Rev. Carl would need to collect 65,825 signatures by December. The earliest it could appear on the ballot would be November 2008.