We have been pleased to work with Bernadette Smith of It’s About Time Events for several years now. She is a Boston-based planner who specializes in same sex weddings and is the co-founder of our groundbreaking seminar series, Gay Weddings 101.
Yesterday, Bernadette went down to the State House to witness the legislative process which has been introduced by a group of citizens who want to overturn the Commonwealth’s law which allows same sex marriage. We are fortunate enough to hear her thoughts on the experience first-hand. Here’s what she had to say:
“Although same sex marriage has been legal in Massachusetts for over two years now, and I’ve personally planned 30 gay weddings, marriage equality is not secure in our state. Today the Massachusetts legislature convened a Constituational Convention (Con-Con) to begin debate on, among other things, an amendment which would ban gay marriage. A similar amendment failed last year, but because this amendment was initiated via a citizen petition, only 50 votes (or 25%) are needed to move the bill through the amendment process, almost guaranteeing it will pass.
“At 9am (on Wednesday), I joined supporters of marriage equality at the State House. Together we held signs, sang and chanted while many of our opponents across the street held signs which carried “Let the People Vote” and “No to Gay Marriage. It’s Not About Civil Rights. It’s About Right and Wrong.” Letting the people vote means that if the amendment passes the legislature this year and next, the people of Massachusetts will vote on the issue via a ballot initiative in 2008.
“Our side’s signs were much more clever and funny (of course). I saw, “What if the people had voted on Brown V. Board of Education?” and “My Dad Wants to Walk Me Down the Aisle, Too”. My favorite sign said “[Governor] Romney’s great grandfather had five wives. I just want one!” This references our conservative Mormon Governor who continues to be on the offensive against same sex couples. My favorite thing about going to these events is meeting couples like Bonnie and Mary, who self-identify as the “poster children for senior lesbians”. They’re in their sixties and have been together for almost 20 years. I also saw these guys who were carrying a sign indicating they’ve been together for 51 years!
“It’s hard to argue with our signs and those amazing, model couples, but our opponents across the street tried. One man repeatedly shouted things like, “we’re all here because of a mommy and a daddy.” Um, no – we’re all here because of an egg and a sperm! I don’t understand their logic, and definitely don’t understand what a poster of the Virgin Mary has anything to do with opposition to gay marriage. The saddest part of looking across the street was seeing all the children they’d brought along to hold their signs and do their dirty work – kids who likely don’t know any better and who probably have never met a loving same sex couple. They simply have no idea what they are opposing.
“When I left at 2:30pm, the legislature was still debating a health care amendment. The anti-gay marriage amendment was number 20 on their list of proposed amendments and political strategists guessed that it might not come up today. If it doesn’t, the Senate President may recess the Con-Con until later this month or even this fall. As I heard someone say, “time is our friend”, and the more time that we have to convince legislators that our gay marriages will not negatively affect their own, the better.”
To learn more about the delay on this decision, read in today’s Boston Globe.