Thursday, 4:30 PM
Romney sends oath of office, Constitution to lawmakers to pressure gay marriage vote
By Globe Staff
Outgoing Governor Mitt Romney tried again today to pressure the Legislature into allowing a vote to ban same-sex marriage, sending 109 lawmakers a copy of their oath of office and the state Constitution.
The 109 lawmakers in question moved earlier this month to adjourn a Constitutional Convention to go into recess rather than voting on the gay marriage ban, all but dooming its chances of appearing on the 2008 ballot. Conservative and religious groups gathered a record 170,000 signatures on a petition to put the proposed ban on same-sex marriages, but the measure also requires the support of at least 50 legislators in two consecutive sessions to qualify for a statewide referendum.
"By not voting, you are frustrating the democratic process and subverting the plain meaning of the Constitution," said Romney, a stanch opponent of gay marriage who is considering a 2008 run for president.
Opponents of the vote argue that there shouldn't be a referendum on civil rights. They argue that the majority should not get to vote on the rights of the minority.
Romney headlined a rally of some 5,000 people at the State House on Sunday urging Legislators to hold a vote. He has vowed to ask the Supreme Judicial Court to override the Legislature and let voters decide whether to ban same-sex marriage, maintaining that lawmakers are violating the state constitution by refusing to act on the proposal.
It was the SJC, however, that ruled in 2003 to legalize marriages between same-sex partners. Romney officials have admitted that with his limited time in office, he is running out of options.
Governor-elect Deval Patrick, a supporter of gay marriage, will be inaugurated on Jan. 4.