A group of Massachusetts citizens staged a protest last night against the state speaker of the House for scuttling a bill to remove state Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret Marshall and three other judges who ruled in favor of same-sex marriage.
Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret Marshall speaking at the annual dinner of the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association in 1999 when she was an associated justice.
Rep. Emile Goguen filed the measure in April calling for the removal of the four justices who ruled Nov. 18 that the state constitution allows same-sex marriage: Marshall, John M. Greaney, Roderick L. Ireland and Judith A. Cowin.
The group says Speaker of the House Rep. Tom Finneran, who regards himself as “pro-family,” is “selling us out.”
“He loves to tell everyone how much he supports traditional marriage and how bad the court ruling was,” said an Article 8 statement. “But when it comes to action, he’d rather keep the liberals from getting too annoyed – and maybe voting him out of his position – than act on principle.”
The protest took place in Mattapan Square, near St. Angela’s Church in Boston.
Goguen, who is vigorously promoting the bill among his colleagues, says the “tide is really turning,” according to Article 8 director Brian Camenker, with well over half of the representatives indicating they support the effort.
After the defeat in the U.S. Senate Wednesday of the Federal Marriage Amendment, Massachusetts lawmakers are paying closer attention to the issue, Camenker told WND.
“I think it’s really started to hit them, what happened, and they’ve been getting a tremendous amount of communication from their constituents,” he said.
The group accuses Finneran of maneuvering the state’s constitutional convention earlier this year for a compromise proposed amendment that defines marriage as only between one man and one woman but allows Vermont-style civil unions. Also, they charge, he has halted movement on the bill through his “underling,” the Rules Committee chairman, Democratic Rep. Angelo Scaccia, the target of a protest July 7.
Article 8 contends the state Legislature’s Rules Committee violated legislative rules by holding a secret vote on the bill at a meeting that was not advertised in advance.
Goguen caught wind of the meeting but was told by Scaccia it was a private “executive session” and he would have to leave.
The House of Representatives rules, however, state, “All meetings, including hearings and executive sessions, of House standing committees, and special committees of the House of Representatives, shall be open to the public and any person shall be permitted to attend any meeting except as otherwise provided by this rule.”
Finneran insists there were not enough votes to get the bill out of committee, saying it was a 7-7 tie. But Camenker contends his tally of panel members shows nine out of 14 voted for the measure in the unorthodox secret ballot.
Speech to Lesbian and Gay Bar
In June, Gouguen accused Marshall of conspiring with homosexual activists before her November ruling, citing alleged violations of the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct and the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.
Protester at rally July 7 in district of Rep. Angelo Scaccia.
Pointing to Marshall’s speech to the Massachusetts Lesbian and Gay Bar Association in 1999, when she was an associate justice, Gouguen contends she aided and abetted Mary L. Bonauto, the attorney who argued the same-sex marriage case for the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders.
In the speech, Marshall, praised the “growing body of gay-friendly international jurisprudence,” including that of her native South Africa.
Gouguen argues Marshall’s appearance before the homosexual group should have disqualified her from the same-sex marriage case.
He notes the Massachusetts Code of Judicial Conduct stated at the time, “A judge should disqualify himself in a proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”
The code’s language was strengthened last year, changing “should” to “shall.”
“After Justice Marshall gave the keynote address at the Massachusetts Lesbian and Gay Bar Association on May 7, 1999, not only ‘might’ her impartiality be questioned in the [November] case, it would have to be questioned by any impartial person,” Goguen wrote in a summary of his accusations against Marshall. “It was not a secret that Judge Marshall desired that such a case be filed in the Massachusetts courts.”
Marshall has not responded to the charges, but in a July 4 editorial in the Boston Herald she argued Founding Father John Adams, author of the Massachusetts constitution, wanted judges to have latitude to freely overturn and change laws they feel might “trample the rights of minorities.”
Camenker responded with a published letter to the editor, stating, “In fact Adams, Thomas Jefferson and the others greatly feared the opposite – out-of-control judges who would impose their will on the people and become oppressors.”
Camenker told WND local reporters will not cover the allegations against Marshall. He said he has asked reporters, face-to-face, why their news organizations will not do a story, and “they simply say, ‘We don’t know.'”
“Here are charges against the chief justice and their answers are, ‘I don’t know,'” Camenker said.