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Category Archives: Massachusetts

State's Rights and the Defense of Marriage

The battle to defend marriage, and the faith communities that sustain it, is increasingly coming down to one’s view of the Constitution and particularly what the Founding Fathers intended as the balance between state’s rights and the powers of the federal government.  Activist judges and an overreaching Obama administration continue to attempt to curtail the right of states to define marriage as they see fit.

Judicial ActivismHowever, Jennifer Hickey of Newsmax wrote yesterday reminding each of us that protection of state’s rights continues to gain supporters in the US House of Representatives.  She reports on Congressman Weber’s (R-TX) “State Marriage Defense Act” and the growing number of co-sponsors the bill has.

Congressman Weber introduced the bill so that,

If state law recognizes two people as married, federal law will recognize them as married; if state law does not recognize them as married, federal law will not recognize them as married.

"We do not want to apply Massachusetts law in Texas, any more than Massachusetts wants Texas law applied there," U.S. Rep. Randy Weber, who in January introduced the State Marriage Defense Act of 2014, told Newsmax.

The Texas Republican's legislation currently has 38 co-sponsors and is supported by the Family Research Council, National Organization for Marriage, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Concerned Women for America, and Heritage Action.

The congressman acted in the wake of widespread confusion among states on how to react to the Supreme Court's decision last year to strike down parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Weber said his bill would "provide clarity to federal agencies seeking to determine who qualifies as a spouse for the purpose of federal law.

Congressman Randy Weber (R-TX)

"This legislation is not about denying anyone the right to marry, but it is a states' rights issue with the goal of helping to clarify the confusion among federal and state agencies."

Ryan Anderson of The Heritage Foundation told Newsmax, “[T]hat Weber's bill protects ‘the sovereign authority of states to recognize marriage as they see fit. It does not say what marriage has to be defined as in any particular state. I do think the Justice Department's decision to ignore the Utah law highlights the need for this law.’”

The State Marriage Defense Act will "restore proper legal order to the scene and correct the administration's unlawful practice," Notre Dame law professor Gerald Bradleywrote, saying that federal agencies "have no inherent legal authority to define marriage. Neither does the president or his attorney general, so long as Congress has exercised its paramount authority to do so."

To urge your Congressman to support the State Marriage Defense Act, follow this link and send her or him an email.

Obama and Romney on Marriage: Words & Actions

As pro-marriage voters prepare to participate in the presidential election, the Baptist Press has done an invaluable service by charting out the concrete actions Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have taken as well as what they have said about marriage.

Here, for instance, is what they found Mitt Romney's actions on marriage to be while Governor of Massachusetts:

-- November 2003: The same day that Massachusetts' highest court issued its first-in-the-nation decision that would legalize gay marriage, Romney endorses a proposed state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man, one woman.

-- March 2004: Announces his desire to ask the court to prevent its ruling from going into effect until after citizens can vote on a state constitutional marriage amendment. Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly, though, declines to make such a request to the court. (The court had "stayed" its ruling for 180 days, meaning it did not take effect until May 2004.)

-- April 2004: Files an emergency bill with the state legislature that would give him the power to ask the state's high court to delay its ruling until after citizens can vote on a constitutional marriage amendment. (The bill fails.)

-- April 2004: Announces that because of an obscure 1913 law, out-of-state gay couples won't be able to marry when the court's ruling takes effect in May 2004. Romney's interpretation goes further than the interpretation of the attorney general, who had limited the application of the law to only the 38 states that had explicitly defined marriage in the traditional sense. Romney said couples from any state that doesn't recognize gay marriage are ineligible.

-- May 2004: Announces he will veto any bill that allows out-of-state couples to marry in Massachusetts.

-- June 2004: Appears before a U.S. Senate committee, urging passage of a federal constitutional marriage amendment defining marriage as between one man, one woman. Such an amendment would overturn the gay marriage ruling in his state.

-- November 2006: Speaks before 7,000 people at a rally in Boston supporting a state constitutional marriage amendment.

-- November 2006: Sues state legislators to try and force them to vote on a state marriage amendment. Citizens had gathered 170,000 signatures to place the amendment before the body, and the constitution requires a vote. (The court sided with Romney. The legislature subsequently passed the amendment in January 2007, although it failed to pass it again during the next session, as required. The state constitution requires the amendment to pass twice before being placed on the ballot.)

-- December 2006: Threatens to withhold a pay raise from state legislators if they fail to vote on a marriage amendment.

Massachusetts Gay Couple Sue Bishop Over Dropped Plan to Host Same-Sex Weddings on Purchased Property

The Boston Globe:

James Fairbanks and Alain Beret, married business partners from Sutton, had been searching for the perfect property for nearly two years when they discovered Oakhurst, an aging mansion on 26 beautiful acres in Northbridge. The former retreat center, which was affiliated with the Diocese of Worcester and had been on the market for some time, would be the ideal spot for their next venture: an inn that would host weddings and other big events.

When the Diocese of Worcester unexpectedly dropped out of negotiations with them in June, Fairbanks and Beret were shocked — and flummoxed. Then, they say, a church attorney inadvertently forwarded their broker an e-mail from Monsignor Thomas Sullivan, chancellor of the diocese, advising a church broker that he was no longer interested in selling to Fairbanks and Beret “because of a potentiality of gay marriages” there.

Beret, 59, and Fairbanks, 57, plan to file a lawsuit Monday morning in Worcester Superior Court against Sullivan, the bishop, the church’s real estate agent, and the nonprofit retreat center, the House of Affirmation, alleging they discriminated against Beret and Fairbanks on the basis of sexual orientation in the course of a real estate negotiation, violating state law.

“I have lived quietly in the mainstream for nearly 60 years, and I expected to continue that,” Beret said in an interview yesterday. “But I will not continue that at the expense of my dignity.”

Sullivan, in a phone interview yesterday, said he did not even know Fairbanks and Beret were gay, and that his e-mail was taken out of context. The talks fizzled, he said, because the men could not secure financing for their first offer, and their second offer was unacceptable to the church.

“They didn’t have the money, that was it,” he said.

It was not until weeks after the financing fell through, he said, that the church’s broker told him that, in her presence, Fairbanks and Beret had mentioned hosting same-sex weddings at Oakhurst.

Sullivan said, however, that the church, as a matter of policy, will not sell properties where Masses have been celebrated to people who plan to host same-sex weddings. The church will not sell to developers who plan to transform them into abortion clinics either, he said — or to bars, lounges, or other kinds of uses that church officials deem inappropriate.

“We wouldn’t sell our churches and our properties to any of a number of things that would reflect badly on the church,” he said. “These buildings are sacred to the memory of Catholics.”

Brian Brown on FoxNews: Romney Is Pro-Marriage

John Roberts of Fox News reports:

Our President Brian Brown tells him about Romney's record on marriage:

"If you go back to Massachussetts some people want to say '[Romney] wasn't strong on [marriage]' -- if you actually look at what he did he stood up for a state constitutional amendment. He's always said he knows in his heart that marriage is the union of a man and a woman that it's in the best interest of his state and of the country."

Video: What Has Happened After SSM in Massachusetts?

Kalley Yanta of the Minnesota Marriage Minute explains some of the consequences after seven years of same-sex marriage:

"Town clerks who were ordered to solemnize same-sex marriages or be fired. Catholic charities was forced to close its adoption agency as it could not abandon its teaching in order to comply with state rules requiring placing children with same-sex couples. After this man's six year old son was exposed to instruction about homosexual relationships in kindergarten, David Parker was arrested for trespassing for protesting the instruction. He spent the night in jail and was taken to court in handcuffs..."

Three Easy Steps to Protect Marriage Today!

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Dear Marriage Supporter,

Below are three important (and easy!) steps that I'm asking you to take to defend marriage today. It will only take a few minutes of your time, and when you're finished, please forward this message on to your friends. Together we're making a difference!

STEP ONE: National Eat at Chick-fil-A Days!

Thanks to the many of you who have enthusiastically responded to my call to stand up and support Dan and Truett Cathy. There are a number of groups joining together in the effort to thank the Cathy family for their courage and grace under fire.

With Mike Huckabee calling on the listeners of his show to go out and eat at Chick-fil-A on Wednesday, August 1, we're extending our effort to include both this Wednesday and next! So, please head out to your local Chick-fil-A restaurant this Wednesday, the 25th, and next Wednesday, the 1st, and let the manager know that you're there to thank the Cathy family for their bravery and for all their good work!

STEP TWO: Send a message to the out-of-control Mayor of Boston

"You don't belong here."

That's what Boston's mayor, Thomas Menino, has told Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A: "You don't belong in Boston."

The mayor's reasoning? Because Boston is "an open city… a city that's at the forefront of inclusion."

The hypocrisy is ludicrous.

Menino, of course, is an outspoken promoter of same-sex marriage, just another out-of-touch politician ignorant of the fact that the American people have consistently rejected same-sex marriage at the ballot box. Luckily for Mr. Menino, the people of Massachusetts haven't been allowed to vote on marriage; but they will be allowed to vote on him—and if he isn't nervous, he probably should be.

What kind of mayor denies a large and flourishing company from settling in his city, just because that company's president disagrees with the mayor's own radical same-sex marriage agenda? A mayor who cares neither for his constituents or the Constitution!

Menino has allowed his own bias to cloud his judgment, and he is sending a very poor signal to any prospective business that doesn't want politicians' meddling for the sake of scoring points with their wealthy donors and lobbyists. Besides that, Menino has insulted faith-based business owners and the majority of Americans who don't want to be forced to compromise their moral integrity to serve the whims of the same-sex marriage camp.

Join me in letting Mayor Menino know that his bullying of Chick-fil-A is out of keeping with his Office as Mayor!

Click here to send your own message to Mayor Menino to voice your outrage at his unjust attacks on Mr. Cathy and Chick-fil-A. I hope you'll send a message right away—it only takes a minute! The mayor needs to know how out of touch he is with the majority of voters who recognize marriage as the unique and sacred union of one man and one woman, and that he cannot get away with bullying those who won't step in line with his own radical agenda.

STEP THREE: Tell Congress to Stand Firm on DOMA

Last Thursday, the United States House of Representatives voted 247-166 to adopt the King Amendment, which prohibits the use of Department of Defense funds to violate the Defense of Marriage Act.

This was a very important vote, halting at least one part of the continuous effort by the White House and certain members of the Legislature to chip away at DOMA piece by piece. Over the past year, a continuous battle against DOMA has been building at the highest levels of the Obama administration's Defense Department, producing new Navy "sensitivity guidelines" requiring chaplains to officiate at same-sex marriage ceremonies and a Department of Defense memo requiring that all military facilities be available for same-sex weddings.

We've put together an action center where you can send a customized message to your own Representatives and Senators, either to thank them for standing firm in support of DOMA or urging them to respect the voice of the American people in the future with respect to this important issue. A thank you message will also be sent to Rep. Steve King for his leadership in passing the amendment. Click here to send your important message to Congress today!

I hope you will take some time out today to accomplish these quick action steps. Thanks again for all you are doing to protect marriage!

Boston Mayor Promises to Stop Chick-Fil-A Opening In Town

After SSM, what next? Banning family-owned companies that believe in marriage:

The mayor of Boston is vowing to block Chick-fil-A from opening a restaurant in the city after the company's president spoke out publicly against gay marriage.

Mayor Thomas Menino told the Boston Herald on Thursday that he doesn't want a business in the city "that discriminates against a population."

Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press this week that his privately owned company is "guilty as charged" in support of what he called the biblical definition of the family.

The fast-food chicken sandwich chain later said that it strives to "treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender."

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A has more than 1,600 stores nationwide but just two in Massachusetts, both located in suburban malls. - AP

The Boston Herald relays Mayor Menino's exact words:

“Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion,” Menino told the Herald yesterday.

“That’s the Freedom Trail. That’s where it all started right here. And we’re not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail.”

William Duncan on 1st Circuit Appeals Court Finding DOMA Unconstitutional

The Associated Press covers the news. We will have a press release issued shortly.

In the meantime, William Duncan comments at National Review:

This morning a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit issued an opinion holding the Federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. The court rejected the implausible argument of the trial court that that principles of federalism prevented Congress from defining terms used in federal law. It also declined the invitation to treat a law that considers the category of “sexual orientation” as equivalent to race (i.e. by employing strict or intermediate scrutiny judicial review). The court very clearly says that under the normal approach the courts would use to determine whether Congress had a “rational basis” in passing a law, DOMA would be upheld.

... So, why is DOMA unconstitutional? The court concludes that there is a new legal standard that has been emerging in the law whereby the U.S. Supreme Court has “intensified scrutiny of purported justifications where minorities are subject to discrepant treatment and have limited the permissible justifications.”

... To recap: Three judges on a federal appeals court purported to apply two amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the Tenth and Fourteenth, to Congress’ definition of marriage which forecloses same-sex marriage for federal-law purposes. The panel said the law did not exceed Congress’ power and would be valid under any analysis used between the time of the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment (1868) and 1973. The panel said, however, that since 1973 the implications of a handful of U.S. Supreme Court decisions have newly invested the federal courts with a power to second-guess Congress’s purposes. In this case, these three judges decided Congress’s rationales for preserving in law what has been the overwhelming norm of marriage (probably unanimous) for millennia just didn’t measure up.

Video: Pro-SSM Protestors Gather Outside MA Catholic Church

The local CBS affiliate with an update on the story we mentioned earlier this week:

The Blaze: Church Receives Violent Threats After Posting "Two Men Are Friends, Not Spouses" Sign

Billy Hallowel at The Blaze:

St. Francis Xavier in Acushnet, Massachusetts, isn’t afraid to insert its voice into the contentious gay marriage debate. The church, which posted a controversial sign voicing its disapproval of gay marriage, is reportedly receiving violent threats as a result of it’s anti-gay marriage messaging.

“Two men are friends, not spouses,” read the contentious sign, which was clearly intended to drive home the church’s view that marriage is an institution that should be reserved for men and women, exclusively.

Monsignor Gerard O’Connor, the head of pastoral services, said that the message was posted to reiterate the Catholic Church’s views on the sanctity of marriage. Additionally, he claimed that the original intention was for the church to offer a response to President Barack Obama’s recent gay marriage endorsement.

... “That’s what the church teaches,” O’Connor said in an interview with CBS Boston. “We understand people disagree with us, but we do it out of love. We never said we hate anybody.”

The message, which was intended to capture attention, has certainly grabbed attention. According to staff members at St. Francis Xavier, authorities are keeping a close eye on the house of worship after someone called and threatened to burn it to the ground.

Romney's New Stump Speech Touts Leadership Opposing SSM in Massachusetts

MSNBC's First Read blog:

Romney ran through a laundry list of accomplishments from his tenure as Massachusetts governor, including everything from balancing budgets and improving the school system -- to more controversial battles like those over illegal immigration and same-sex marriage, which Massachusetts' Supreme Court legalized during Romney's term.

"I led the fight to get an amendment to our constitution to reverse that ruling," Romney said of the court's decision to allow same sex marriage, echoing his CPAC speech. "We missed by one vote. Even in a legislature that's 85 percent Democrat. But we went to make sure that we didn't have our same sex marriage go throughout the country and we were able to enforce -- I think it was a 1913 law -- that kept Massachusetts from becoming the Las Vegas of same sex marriage."

American Spectator: Critiques of Romney on Marriage Overblown

W. James Antle, III of American Spectator comes to Mitt Romney's defense on his record of defending marriage:

Even during his most socially liberal campaign, the 1994 run against Ted Kennedy, Romney never openly supported same-sex marriage (at the time, this would not have even been a mainstream position among Democrats). He opposed both same-sex marriage and civil unions while running for governor in 2002, by that time a fairly conservative position by Massachusetts standards. After the Goodridge decision, Romney unsuccessfully requested a stay. He twice cobbled together the votes necessary to advance measures that could have reached the statewide ballot under the commonwealth's byzantine amendment process and possibly overturned the pro-same-sex marriage ruling. He also endorsed a federal marriage amendment.

... Romney probably could have done more to call the legislature into account for dubiously recessing the constitutional convention that was the last, best shot to overturn Goodridge. I think he can also be fairly criticized for abandoning the state in 2006 to run for president, knowing that this would make Goodridge's reversal even less likley. But Romney probably could have spent his entire governorship on the issue and had no more to show for it than he does now.

Video: The Marriage Debate Between Santorum and Romney

At this weekend's GOP debate, Mitt Romney interrupts Chris Wallace to make clear he has always supported marriage as one man and one woman and fought hard for a marriage amendment in Massachusetts. Rick Santorum claims, not hard enough:

Maggie's Latest Column: Mitt Romney Never Flip-Flopped on Marriage

NOM Co-Founder Maggie Gallagher's most recent column looks at Mitt Romney's record on marriage:

I'm not going to defend Romney from the charge that he has changed his mind -- on abortion he clearly has.

But I do want to take up the one issue I know the most about: same-sex marriage.

Let's compare Romney's and Obama's records of constancy on this one issue, the hot button of all button issues in American politics today.

I'm doing this, in part, because some social conservatives in Iowa appear to have gotten the idea that Mitt Romney is somehow responsible for gay marriage in Massachusetts.

I don't mind anyone criticizing Romney for the things he has done. But this particular attack is grotesquely unfair. I know. I was there.

Continue reading at RealClearPolitics.

Does Gay Rights Include the Right to Have Sex in Public Parks?

We are pretty sure most people, including most LGBT people, would say "no."

In Boston, these days, they aren't so sure:

State Police arrested 31 men at the park this past summer, most of them for trespassing, reviving fears in the gay community that the police were once again targeting gay men. The sexual orientation of most of the men is unknown, but their arrests prompted gay-rights advocates to meet recently with high-ranking public safety officials in Governor Deval Patrick’s administration.

... But police officials say the recent work at the Medford park did not target any one group. Their overall goal, they say, was to maintain safety in state-owned parks and protect delicate grounds, which have been damaged by people veering off main paths to use drugs or engage in sex.

Officials at the state Department of Conservation and Recreation said that “men who have sex with men’’ go off main paths at the Middlesex Fells Reservation to have trysts, trampling on natural resources, according to a draft of the department’s resource management plan.

The language rankles advocates, who said it unfairly blames one group of people. DCR officials said they would revise the language in the plan’s final draft. -- The Boston Globe