Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
A leader of the Parents’ Rights Coalition in Massachusetts says he believed all along that Gov. Mitt Romney chose to implement “gay” marriages in that state, and now a court has confirmed that it did not have the power to order that change.
John Haskins, associate director of the family-support organization, told WND that three years after the Goodridge decision by the Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts, “Americans merely have to note that the judges admit now … that they have no power over the other branches of government, and that the state constitution says that only the legislature can suspend laws.”
His reference is to last week’s ruling that concluded the state legislature is bound under the state constitution to vote up-or-down on voter initiatives presented to the lawmaking body. That group so far has defied that responsibility on a proposal signed by 170,000 Massachusetts residents calling for that up-or-down vote on an initiative that would allow voters to define marriage in Massachusetts.
The lawmakers voted to recess until today, the last day of the current legislative session, without voting on that measure.
That Supreme Judicial Court opinion noted that the vote is a constitutional requirement, even though the court held no power to force a vote.
However, when that same court three years ago ruled that “gay” marriages must be recognized by the state, the governor began implementing those rules changes, even though there was no such requirement, Haskins said.
“Since even the court admitted that the marriage statute excludes homosexual ‘marriages’ and the statute remains law, Mitt Romney did what he did on his own. Neither governors nor courts – neither being law-makers – have legal authority to convey to illegal homosexual marriages licenses,” he said.
He said it’s exactly the opposite in the more recent decision from that court. “What the Massachusetts high court has not reminded anyone of – and what no prominent conservative dares even think aloud, is that the state constitution does prescribe recourse, and it is the filing of felony charges against the outlaw legislators. Violating an oath to uphold the Massachusetts Constitution is subject to the penalties of perjury: up to 20 years in state penitentiary. This the plain meaning of the oath itself, which is found … in the state constitution.”
“How’s a governor to bring this up, when he, ‘Matinee’ Mitt Romney, no less than anyone, is subverting the Constitution day by day, having ordered public officials to solemnize sodomy marriages though they remain illegal,” Haskins told WND. “On Mitt Romney’s order alone, town clerks and justices of the peace are compelled to violate the Constitution they swore to uphold and the statute – which remains among the Massachusetts General Laws.”
He said the early advice from conservative activists – for Romney to just ignore the court’s conclusion – was the right one.
“Hiding in Wednesday’s ruling like an elephant in a courtroom is still more proof that Romney had a choice. The court has admitted, as it does whenever it really doesn’t want to order the Legislative or Executive branches to obey the Constitution, that it actually can’t.
“If there were no Massachusetts Constitution, no other proof of the high crime of Mitt Romney – this ruling proves that Mitt Romney had a choice and he chose wrong. He imposed homosexual marriage illegally, using the Goodridge decision as a smokescreen. No court forced anything on him, nor did they have any such authority, and that historic admission is implicit in this ruling,” Haskins said.
Haskins also writes for the coalition, an affiliate of MassResistance.com, a family-oriented group of activists.
No one from the governor’s office could be reached over New Year’s Day for a response.
Last week’s ruling came on a lawsuit brought by Romney – as a resident – and others, seeking a ruling from the court it is unconstitutional for state lawmakers to refuse to vote on an initiative that calls for marriage to be limited to one man and one woman in that state.
The ruling could not have been better for advocates of traditional, biblically-based marriage, Brian W. Raum, the senior legal counsel for the the Alliance Defense Fund told WND.
“The plaintiff in that case had asked the court to issue a declaratory judgment and a writ of mandamus. The court (said it) didn’t have the authority to force the legislature to vote, but it issued a lengthy opinion which established … that the legislature has a constitutional duty to vote,” he said.
The initiative, organized by VoteOnMarriage.org, was presented to the legislature since by Massachusetts’ Constitution, lawmakers must vote on any initiative presented to them.
However, only 50 affirmative votes are needed to place the issue on the ballot, and through the political maneuverings of pro-”gay marriage” factions in the legislature, members voted to recess until today, the last legal day of the current legislative session, without voting on the initiative.
The ADF has a federal lawsuit pending against the 109 individual lawmakers who endorsed that recess vote, and Raum said the state court opinion, although it is a separate case, simply strengthens that.
“This decision by the SJC strengthens the federal case against the individual legislators,” he said. “We’re claiming the legislature violated the federal Constitution by depriving people of the right to vote.”
He said it’s not surprising that the court would decline to order a vote by lawmakers, an order that could be interpreted as violating the separation of powers. But he said that doesn’t make the lawmakers’ refusal to vote legal.
Glen Lavy, a senior counsel for the ADF, said when the federal lawsuit was filed that there will be “big trouble” if lawmakers who have sworn to uphold the Constitution “can willfully ignore it with impunity once in office.”
Last July the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman could be placed on the 2008 ballot.
But it’s been held up for the five months since because the state constitution states the Massachusetts Legislature has a duty to vote on whether the process for placing the amendment on the ballot can proceed.
The federal lawsuit seeks a holding of personal liability for the individual lawmakers who have refused to bring the issue to a vote.
VoteOnMarriage.org earlier announced its lawsuit against Massachusetts lawmakers over marriage amendment
The federal lawsuit, which is available online, was filed in U.S. District Court in Worcester, Mass., and names 109 legislators for violating the constitutional rights of state residents by intentionally refusing to vote on the citizen initiative.
“The evidence is overwhelming that those in the Massachusetts legislature who continue to recess the Constitutional Convention are doing so in an illegal effort to kill the marriage amendment by violating the state constitution,” said Kris Mineau, chief of the Massachusetts Family Institute.