With less than a month before the Massachusetts high court’s landmark decision to allow same-sex marriage goes into effect, a group of opponents is engaged in a last-minute effort to remove the four justices who crafted the ruling.
Brian Camenker, of Article 8 Alliance, says the national family advocacy groups so passionately devoted to preserving marriage have all but given up hope in the Bay state, but he believes he has found a solution through a mechanism in the state constitution known as bills of address.
A bill of address allow lawmakers to remove judges who fail to fulfill their duties, but the last time they removed a Supreme Judicial Court justice was 1803. A failed attempt was made in 1922.
Nevertheless, Camenker’s group has enlisted the help of Democratic Rep. Emile J. Goguen, who on Thursday filed a measure calling for the removal of the four justices who ruled Nov. 18 that the constitution allows same-sex marriage: Margaret H. Marshall, John M. Greaney, Roderick L. Ireland and Judith A. Cowin.
Goguen hopes the measure – which possibly could bypass the judiciary committee and go to the House floor within a couple of weeks – will pressure the court to reconsider its ruling.
So far, however, he has few supporters among his colleagues.
But Camenker, who launched the campaign in January, says lawmakers tell his group behind closed doors that “we’re right, this was a completely illegal ruling, it has no basis in law at all, and that this is really what needs to happen.”
The legislators, Camenker believes, are afraid of the Boston Globe and other mainstream media, and gay activists and their lawyers, and they don’t want to be seen as trying to oust a judge.
The Massachusetts legislature held a constitutional convention earlier this year to craft an amendment to the state constitution that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman but allows Vermont-style civil unions, conferring virtually all the same rights and benefits of marriage.
Camenker, noting it could not be enacted until 2006, insists the problem is not the constitution but a judiciary out of control.
“The constitution has a remedy for judges that do not properly interpret law, the bill of address,” he said. “The idea of having to amend the constitution every time there is a bad ruling – you’ll be amending it all the time.”
Camenker chastises pro-family groups for focusing attention on the Federal Marriage Amendment, which he thinks also will fail.
“The national Constitution doesn’t need amending; the problem is because we’ve allowed ourselves to lose control of our own judiciary,” he said.
He called the proposed state constitutional amendment one of the most bizarre pieces of legislation he’s seen, as it insists on “preserving the unique character and identity of marriage and then creates in the next sentence a duplicate of marriage.”
“Many of the pro-family groups are willing to make that compromise to save the word marriage, which is a deadly compromise because in a few years you won’t have either,” he said.
In Massachusetts, he notes, it would be illegal to make any distinction, privately or publicly, between marriage and civil unions.
He sees his campaign resonating among people across the state, with thousands signing up to get involved and hundreds showing up at rallies, including about 300 at a gathering Thursday at the state capitol.
“The average person understands this problem of being completely out of control, the idea that your basic laws can be dismantled by four unelected appointees,” he said.
Editor’s note: The current edition of WND’s monthly Whistleblower magazine, titled “SEXUAL ANARCHY,” provides a comprehensive and insightful journalistic look at one of the most crucial but little understood issues of our generation – same-sex marriage.