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Massachusetts Constitutional Convention
Latest updates

6:30 p.m. | 6:20 p.m. | 5:42 p.m. | 5:40 p.m. | 5:30 p.m. | 5:00 p.m. | 4:35 p.m. | 3:50 p.m. | 3:35 p.m. | 3:00 p.m. | 2:20 p.m. | 1:20 p.m. | 1:00 p.m. | Photo essay

6:30 p.m.
Howie Carr gets ugly

While the legislature was taking a dramatic roll-call vote on the leadership's amendment to ban gay marriage and allow civil unions, the minds of Boston's two political talk-show hosts were elsewhere. On WRKO (AM 680), Howie Carr announced that he would wait until 6 p.m., preferring to stick with the gripping topic of gross things callers have found in restaurant food. On WTKK (96.9 FM), Jay Severin fielded calls on out-of-control hockey parents and on steroids in Major League Baseball.

On second thought, maybe it was just as well. Severin, who opposes same-sex marriage, was still talking about other things as of 6:15. But Carr, a sneering, homophobic bully, got right down to it.

"They're going to get the civil unions," he said at the top of the hour. "They want to get their nose under the tent here. And there's still going to be gay civil marriage on May 17, in my opinion."

Then he predicted that Governor Mitt Romney will ask Attorney General Tom Reilly to seek a stay from the Supreme Judicial Court until voters have a chance to weigh in on the constitutional amendment in November 2006 - and that Reilly, "afraid of offending the Sodomites," will pass off the thankless task to a special counsel. The final act, in Carr's view: the SJC will refuse the stay on another four-to-three vote.

"It looks like we will have at least two years of gay marriages in the commonwealth," Carr said. "Yikes." And: "I don't want civil unions. Obviously I prefer civil unions to marriages." And: "Why do we need all these fake marriages? All these pseudo-nuptials?"

As I tuned out, he was reading an e-mail from a listener, chortling heartily about "the holy sacrament of sodomy."

No doubt Carr will recycle the lowlights in his Boston Herald column tomorrow.

— reported by Dan Kennedy

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6:20 p.m.
Gay rights advocates elated

Shortly after the Travaglini-Finneran amendment passed, hundreds of gay rights supporters erupted in cheers outside the House Gallery. Arline Isaacson, cochair of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Caucus, stood on a chair to address gay rights proponents, who also applauded Isaacson.

In a separate interview with the Phoenix, Isaacson said: "This is a positive thing for us. Let's be unequivocally clear: we do not want anything, any type of question to go on the ballot. We did want the subsitution vote to pass. This is a pure, crass legislative strategy. It has nothing to do with believing in a kinder, gentler, version [of the amendment]. We feel this is our one shot at kiling everything else."

By passing the Travaglini-Finneran amendment, the legislature successfully substituted a previous amendment offered by State Senator Jarrett Barrios of Cambridge on the opening day of the ConCon. The next vote the legislature will take will be to substitute the Travaglini-Finneran amendment for the original Travis amendment. From there, Isaacson said, "Our next strategy is to kill the Travaglini-Finneran amendment before it goes to third reading."

— reported by Kristen Lombardi

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5:42 p.m.
Travaglini-Finneran amendment passes

On a roll call vote, the amendment easily passes 129 to 69.

In the Senate, 31 senators voted in favor of the Travaglini-Finneran amendent while eight voted against it.

Voting in favor:
Robert A. Antonioni of Leominster
Steven A. Baddour of Methuen
Jarrett T. Barrios of Cambridge
Frederick E. Berry of Peabody
Stephen M. Brewer of Barre
Harriette L. Chandler of Worcester
Cynthia Stone Creem of Newton
Guy William Glodis of Auburn
Jack Hart of South Boston
Robert L. Hedlund of Weymouth
Brian A. Joyce of Milton
Michael R. Knapik of Westfield
Brian P. Lees of East Longmeadow
Thomas M. McGee of Lynn
Joan M. Menard of Somerset
Linda J. Melconian of Springfield
Mark C. Montigny of New Bedford
Michael W. Morrissey of Quincy
Therese Murray of Plymouth
Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr. of Pittsfield
Robert O'Leary of Barnstable
Marc R. Pacheco of Taunton
Steven C. Panagiotakos of Lowell
Pamela P. Resor of Acton
Stanley C. Rosenberg of Amherst
Charles E. Shannon, Jr. of Winchester
Bruce E. Tarr of Gloucester
Steven A. Tolman of Brighton
Senate President Robert E. Travaglini of East Boston
Susan C. Tucker of Andover
Dianne Wilkerson of Roxbury

Voting against it were:
Robert S. Creedon, Jr. of Brockton
Susan C. Fargo of Lincoln
Robert A. Havern of Arlington
David P. Magnani of Framingham
Richard T. Moore of Uxbridge
Jo Ann Sprague of Walpole
Richard R. Tisei of Wakefield
Marian Walsh of West Roxbury

In the House, 98 represenatatives voted in favor of the amendment while 61 voted gainst it.

Voting in favor:
Atkins, Cory of Concord
Atsalis, Demetrius J. of Barnstable
Balser, Ruth B. of Newton
Binienda, John J. of Leicester
Blumer, Deborah D. of Framingham
Bradley, Garrett J. of Cohasset
Broadhurst, Arthur J. of Methuen
Buoniconti, Stephen J. of West Springfield
Cabral, Antonio F. D. of New Bedford
Callahan, Jennifer M. of Sutton
Canavan, Christine E. of Brockton
Candaras, Gale D. of Wilbraham
Casey, Paul C. of Winchester
Connolly, Edward G. of Everett
Coughlin, Robert K. of Dedham
Creedon, Geraldine of Brockton
DeLeo, Robert A. of Revere
Demakis, Paul C. of Boston
Dempsey, Brian S. of Haverhill
Donelan, Christopher J. of Orange
Eldridge, James B. of Acton
Fagan, James H. of Taunton
Falzone, Mark V. of Saugus
Fennell, Robert F. of Lynn
Festa, Michael E. of Melrose
Finegold, Barry R. of Andover
Finneran, Thomas M. of Mattapan
Flynn, David L. of Bridgewater
Fresolo, John P. of Worcester
Galvin, William C. of Canton
Garry, Colleen M. of Dracut
Gobi, Anne M. of Spencer
Goguen, Emile J. of Fitchburg
Golden, Thomas A., Jr. of Lowell
Grant, Mary E. of Beverly
Greene, William G., Jr of Billerica
Haddad, Patricia A. of Somerset
Hall, Geoffrey D. of Westford
Honan, Kevin G. of Boston
Howland, Mark A. of Freetown
Kafka, Louis L. of Sharon
Kaprielian, Rachel of Watertown
Kaufman, Jay R. of Lexington
Kelly, Shaun P. of Dalton
Kennedy, Thomas P. of Brockton
Khan, Kay of Newton
Koczera, Robert M. of New Bedford
Koutoujian, Peter J. of Newton
Kujawski, Paul of Webster
Kulik, Stephen of Wothington
L'Italien, Barbara A. of Andover
Leary, James Brendan of Worcester
LeDuc, Stephen P. of Marlborough
Linsky, David P. of Natick
Mariano, Ronald of Quincy
Marzilli, Jr., J. James of Arlington
Murphy, Charles A. of Burlington
Murphy, Kevin J. of Lowell
Nangle, David M. of Lowell
Naughton Jr., Harold P. of Clinton
Nyman, Robert J. of Hanover
O'Brien, Thomas J. of Kingston
O'Flaherty, Eugene L. of Chelsea
Owens-Hicks, Shirley of Boston
Patrick, Matthew of Falmouth
Paulsen, Anne M. of Belmont
Pedone, Vincent A. of Worcester
Peisch, Alice H. of Wellesley
Petersen, Douglas W. of Marblehead
Petrolati, Thomas M. of Ludlow
Petruccelli, Anthony of Boston
Pignatelli, William Smitty of Lenox
Quinn, John F. of Dartmouth
Reinstein, Kathi-Anne of Revere
Rivera, Cheryl A. of Springfield
Rodrigues, Michael J. of Westport
Rogers, John H. of Norwood
Ruane, J. Michael of Salem
Scibak, John W. of South Hadley
Smizik, Frank Israel of Brookline
Spellane, Robert P. of Worcester
Spiliotis, Joyce A. of Peabody
Spilka, Karen of Ashland
Stanley, Harriett L. of W. Newbury
Stanley, Thomas M. of Waltham
Story, Ellen of Amherst
Straus, William M. of Mattapoisett
Sullivan, David B. of Fall River
Teahan, Kathleen M. of Whitman
Timilty, Walter F. of Milton
Torrisi, David M. of North Andover
Turkington, Eric of Falmouth
Vallee, James E. of Franklin
Verga, Anthony J. of Gloucester
Wagner, Joseph F. of Chicopee
Wallace, Brian P. of Boston
Walrath, Patricia A. of Stow
Walsh, Steven M. of Lynn

Voting against it:
Asselin, Christopher P. of Springfield
Ayers, Bruce J. of Quincy
Bosley, Daniel E. of North Adams
Brown, Scott P. of Wrentham
Carron, Mark J. of Southbridge
Ciampa, Vincent P. of Somerville
Coppola, Michael J. of Foxborough
Correia, Robert of Fall River
Costello, Michael A. of Newburyport
deMacedo, Viriato Manuel of Plymouth
DiMasi, Salvatore F. of Boston
Donato, Paul J. of Medford
Donovan, Carol A. of Woburn
Driscoll, Joseph R. of Braintree
Evangelidis, Lewis G. of Holden
Fallon, Christopher G. of Malden
Fox, Gloria L. of Boston
Frost, Paul K. of Auburn
George, Thomas N. of Yarmouth
Gifford, Susan W. of Wareham
Golden, Brian Paul of Boston
Gomes, Shirley of Harwich
Hargraves, Robert S. of Groton
Harkins, Lida E. of Needham
Hill, Bradford of Ipswich
Hillman, Reed V. of Sturbridge
Humason, Donald F., Jr. of Westfield
Hynes, Frank M. of Marshfield
Jehlen, Patricia D. of Somerville
Jones, Bradley H., Jr. of Reading
Kane, Michael F. of Holyoke
Keenan, Daniel F. of Southwick
Knuuttila, Brian of Gardner
Kocot, Peter V. of Northampton
Lantigua, William of Lawrence
Larkin, Peter J. of Pittsfield
Lepper, John A. of Attleboro
Loscocco, Paul J. of Holliston
Malia, Elizabeth A. of Jamaica Plain
Miceli,James R. of Wilmington
Murphy, James M. of Weymouth
Parente, Marie J. of Milford
Perry, Jeffrey D. of Sandwich
Peterson Jr., George N. of Grafton
Poirier of N., Elizabeth A. Attleborough
Polito, Karyn E. of Shrewsbury
Pope., Susan W. of Wayland
Rogeness, Mary S. of Longmeadow
Rush, Michael F. of West Roxbury
Rushing, Byron of Boston
Sanchez, Jeffrey of Mission Hill
Scaccia, Angelo M. of Boston
Speliotis, Theodore C. of Danvers
St. Fleur, Marie P. of Boston
Swan, Benjamin of Springfield
Tobin, A. Stephen of Quincy
Toomey Jr., Timothy J. of Cambridge
Travis, Philip of Rehoboth
Walsh, Martin J. of Boston
Webster, Daniel K. of Hanson
Wolf, Alice K. of Cambridge

Did not vote:
Mary Jane Simmons of Leominster

— reported by David S. Bernstein

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5:40 p.m.
This just in

The California Supreme Court has ordered the city of San Francisco to stop issuing marriage licenses.

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5:30 p.m.

The legislature is taking a roll call vote on the Travaglini-Finneran compromise amendment.

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5:00 p.m.
Countdown to the vote

Senate Minority Leader Brian Lees of Longmeadow is currently speaking to the ConCon. When he is done, the full legislature is expected to vote on the Travaglini-Finneran amendment that would ban lesbian and gay couples from marrying while providing for the same rights.

Lees says if the legislature does not provide for a seamless transition of the right of marriage to that of civil unions, "then enormous legal problems will exist for those couples who got married" after May 17 only to find the constitution amended in 2006 and their marriages no longer recognized by law. He also noted that legislators who say that they do not want civil unions written into the state constitution because itís something the legislature should -- and will -- pass are "not being terribly honest either with your own constituents or the people in this chamber." The Senate has passed legislation that would give benefits to same-sex couples many times, Lees noted, only to see it die in the House.

— reported by Susan Ryan-Vollmar

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4:35 p.m.
Owens-Hicks: this is not about civil rights

State representative Shirley Owens-Hicks of Boston noted that she has many gay friends and family members who mean a lot to her. She said she would never want to do anything to hurt them. Even so, she cannot support civil marriage rights for same-sex couples.

"There has been much discussion of the civil rights movement and passionate assertions that the civil rights movement has connectedness to the issue we're debating today," Owens-Hicks said. She then went on to list hardships African-Americans have faced, noting that she was "talking about experiences I have faced," and said that if lesbians and gays had ever had to deal with them, she would stand with them: "If gays and lesbians were ever forced to sit or stand at the back of the bus I would certainly stand up for their civil rights. . . . If gay and lesbians had had to drink from a separate water fountain than everyone else, I would stand up for their civil rights. . . . If gays or lesbians were forced into underfunded segregated schools I would stand up for their rights. . . . If gays and lesbians had to uproot themselves from family and flees from their families in the middle of the night, then definitely, I would stand up for their civil rights. . . . If they were victims of false arrests. . . . If gays and lesbians were denied the right to vote I would certainly stand up for their civil rights. . . . I'm not wishing any of these atrocities on my gay and lesbian friends."

Owens-Hicks went on to talk about her faith and said that she refused to "abandon" her religious beliefs at the door of the State House. "I believe the Bible and I also believe the American Heritage Dictionary and each of these books defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. But further, I believe that same-sex couples should have access to any and all benefits" of marriage.

— reported by Susan Ryan-Vollmar

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3:50 p.m.
Loscocco is disgusted

State representative Paul Loscocoo of Holliston, who opposes gay marriage, chastised gay marriage opponents engaging in homophobia today: "I am disgusted by some of the signs I see outside on this issue." Some of the signs in question? GOD HATES FAGS and HOMOSEXUALS ARE POSSESSED BY DEMONS.

— reported by Susan Ryan-Vollmar

Haters unite!

The most creative approach to bringing both sides of the marriage debate together comes from Steve Madero of Boston. Standing outside the State House, Madero holds a sign that says LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL, POPULAR OPINION =/= EQUALITY. Turn it around and it says YANKEES SUCK.

"I'm trying to unite us in our hate," he explains.

— reported by David S. Bernstein

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3:35 p.m.
Travis to legislators: "Don't listen to your mind..."

State representative Phil Travis of Rehoboth, the original sponsor of the constitutional amendment seeking to ban lesbian and gay couples from marrying, just addressed the ConCon: "We all know in our heart of hearts that marriage is unique." Tapping his forehead, he said, "Don't listen to your mind." As fellow reps and senators laughed, he continued. "Don't listen to your body. Listen to your heart."

— reported by Susan Ryan-Vollmar

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3:00 p.m.
Debate on compromise amendment to end at 5:30 p.m.

Suspicion runs deep among legislators on opposite sides of the debate. Soon after a quorum roll call was held at 2:30 p.m. state representative John Rogers of Norwood, who opposes gay marriage, took the podium to introduce two motions. The first motion was to limit debate on the Travaglini-Finneran compromise bill that would bay gay marriage but create civil unions. Under Rogers's proposal, debate would end at 5:30 p.m. at which point a vote would be taken.

State representative Byron Rushing of Boston, who favors gay marriage, didn't want to vote on the first motion without hearing what Rogers's second motion was.

Senate President Robert Travaglini told Rushing that the convention would take one motion at a time. Rushing replied, to much laughter, that that was the problem.

Rogers then said that his second motion was to ask that a letter Travaglini and House Speaker Tom Finneran had sent out to colleagues asking for support of their amendment be read into the public record.

State representative George Peterson of Grafton, who opposes gay marriage, objected to any motion that would limit debate. But Travaglini forced a vote on the first motion by asking those opposed to stand up and then quickly stating that the motion had passed.

State Senator Jarrett Barrios was openly skeptical of the reasons Rogers gave for wanting to have the Travaglini-Finneran letter read into the public record (Rogers said it was for the edification of future generations) and said he trusted that it wasn't a wolf in sheep's clothing.

The motion failed to pass 125 to 70.

— reported by Kristen Lombardi

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2:20 p.m.
Jesus, the cross, and a state trooper

Winston Trought, a Jamaican immigrant who runs the Covenant on the Rock Ministry, which is dubbed as an "International Ministry for the Total Man" on flyers Trought was handing out at the corner of Beacon and Park streets, came up from Cape Cod to protest against gay marriage. A slight man, he carried a huge wooden cross on his back. A woman walked behind him holding the bottom of the cross to keep it from touching the ground. Asked why he was carrying the cross, Trought said: "I'm carrying the cross because Jesus Christ is lord over Massachusetts and I'm here to declare that."

As he canvassed the corner, he walked by a group of five men holding up a giant sign that read REPENT FOR THE JUDGMENT OF GOD IS REAL. As Trought trudged by, the men shouted out Amen! to him.

A woman wearing a MassEquality sticker sarcastically observed, "Jesus had to walk much farther than that."

A state trooper standing nearby added, "Jesus was a lot bigger than that, too."

— reported by Kristen Lombardi

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1:20 p.m.
Talking about dicks and ass

Outside the State House in the long line waiting to get into the building, a young man with wispy brown hair pushed behind his ears turns to a much older man standing behind him and gives him an article that the younger man says describes how heterosexuals are undermining marriage. The older man is wearing a yellow circle sticker that says "SUPPORT MA AND PA." He mutters something to the young man who loudly replies: "Don't tell me to calm down. You're trying to take away my civil rights. Of course I'm excited." The older man says something else, to which the younger man says: "You don't like butt fucking. Guess what? I'm 35 years old and I've never had a man's dick up my ass and a lot of 35 year old women have."

A woman wearing a MassEquality sticker who was standing in line behind the older man gently wags her finger at the younger man and admonishes him: "Be nice, now."

Too late.

— reported by Adam Reilly

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1:00 p.m.
Chaos at the State House

Itís chaos at the State House. There are hundreds of protesters outside shouting and chanting, and shouting and chanting at each other. Unlike last month, when protesters on either side of the marriage issue grouped themselves with like-minded advocates -- making for an extremely polite demonstration -- the scene today is unruly and ugly.

The anti-gay marriage side is wielding signs that werenít seen last month: GOD HATES FAGS; GOD ABHORS YOU; HOMOSEXUALS ARE POSSESSED BY DEMONS; HOMOSEXUAL SEX IS A SIN; and TURN TO JESUS. One child with antigay demonstrators was spotted holding a GOD HATES FAGS sign.

On the steps of the State House, a woman with long blonde hair holding a Bible starting screaming into the crowd: Itís an abomination! Youíre an abomination! A fiftysomething man wearing a MassEquality sticker shouted back: You have no love in your heart! The two approached each other and the woman pointed at him and shouted: You are an abomination!

The two were nearly nose to nose when the man shouted back: Christianity is about love! Your version of Christianity is about hate!

The woman turned to leave muttering that homosexuality is a sin that come judgment day, gay people would be judged.

The man later identified himself as Robert Bitrick from Provincetown. He was demonstrating at the State House with his partner Ken Janson. The two men have been together for 22 years. He said he felt compelled to challenge the woman because her version of Christianity is perverted.

***

One of the gay marriage opponents on the steps of the State House is wearing a sandwich board that says GOD ABHORS YOU in pink and white block letters. The man, Rueben Israel of Los Angeles, arrived in Boston at 6:30 a.m. and has been outside the State House since 7:30 a.m. A member of the group Bible Believers, Israel traveled to Boston with others from around the country including Florida, Indiana, and New York. Israel says that the group was asked to attend the demonstrations by like-minded Massachusetts pastors. Of his sign, he says: Itís a blunt message to some people. Iím being as blunt as gay men and lesbians are being by demanding that the traditional definition of marriage be changed.

***

Inside the State House itís just as chaotic. Hundreds of demonstrators have already assembled outside the gallery where state legislators will begin debate over a constitutional amendment to prevent lesbian and gay couples from marrying at 2 p.m. Since 10 a.m. this morning, the fourth floor hallways have been echoing with songs and chants by advocates on both sides of the issue.

Thereís a definite church-state split on either side. The pro-gay marriage side is singing patriotic songs like God Bless America, and This Land is My Land. The anti-gay marriage side are singing hymns punctuated with shout outs of Jesus! and Amen!

— reported by Kristen Lombardi

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Issue Date: March 11, 2003
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