Same Sex Marriage
The Hiller Instinct: Same Sex Marriage
The winners and losers in this historic battle stretch from the State House to the White House and all the way to the presidential campaign.
The biggest winner here is Senate President Robert Travaglini. Formerly the weakest link in Beacon Hill's gang of three, Travaglini has won respect for himself and the state senate by leading the legislature to vote on a compromise.
Sen. Robert Travaglini (D) Senate President
"This approach restores these important social policy decisions back to the legislature and allows an opportunity for the voters of the commonwealth to render an opinion."
House speaker Tom Finneran is a loser, because he's fighting a losing battle. Finneran says he wants to block same-sex marriage to avoid chaos, but this is a chaotic issue, and he should just let the chips fall where they may instead of sounding small.
The Supreme Judicial Court is a loser, too. The SJC’s divided opinions reflect a divided court, mirroring the deep split among citizens, making the ruling easy to attack.
And that helps make Mitt Romney a winner. The Governor is establishing a national platform for himself on gay marriage and can challenge the SJC without sounding discriminatory…
Gov. Mitt Romney (R) Massachusetts
"I'd just as soon not have an issue as important as the definition of marriage be decided by one judge on the Supreme Court, a one judge majority."
The SJC decision is a big loss for John Kerry. The democrats' all-but-certain presidential nominee opposes gay marriage, but his home state is the only state to approve them. So all he can do is hedge…
Sen John Kerry (D) Presidential Candidate
"I think the word marriage and the concept of marriage can be separated here."
And that makes George Bush a big winner. Polls say Bush speaks for a majority of Americans in opposing gay marriage and now he backs a federal constitutional amendment banning what the SJC ordered…
President George W. Bush
"If judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process. Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage."
Beyond winners and losers, there's irony, the legislature's unusual interest in finding out what voters want. In the past, Beacon Hill has ignored the public's will -- remember clean elections and the income tax rollback? So don't be fooled, the State House is suddenly supporting "people power" because legislators see no other choice.