News


VoteOnMarriage.org Press Releases

 

June 14, 2007 - Legislature Votes Down Marriage Amendment; Unrelenting Pressure by Patrick, Murray, DiMasi Blamed

May 17, 2007 - Statement of Kris Mineau in Response to Boston Globe Report on Marriage Amendment

May 16, 2007 - Press Release - VoteOnMarriage.org reminds legislators of the meaning of marriage

May 14, 2007 - Press Release - Statement of Kris Mineau in Response to Attorney General Coakely's Comments about the Marriage Amendment

May 9, 2007 - Press Release - Legislature Stalls Vote on Marriage Amendment Vote; Constitutional Convention Recessed to June 14

April 17, 2007 - Press Release - Suffolk Poll Says Nearly Two-Thirds of Registered Voters want to Vote on Marriage

April 2, 2007 - Press Release - VoteOnMarriage.org Denounces Marriage Law Repeal

April 2, 2007 - Press Release - Statement of Kris Mineau in Response to Governor Patrick's Same-Sex Marriage Action

March 21, 2007 - Press Release - VoteOnMarriage.org and Marriage Amendment Supporters Call on Murray to Uphold the Constitution and Ensure a Vote

January 9, 2007 - Joint Press Release - Massachusetts Family Institute Announces Initiative to Promote Mutual Understanding and Dialogue on Same Sex Marriage

January 2, 2007 - Press Release - Legislative Support for Marriage Amendment Upheld in Second Vote

January 2, 2007 - Press Release - Massachusetts Marriage Amendment Wins Legislative Support; Citizen initiative petition process restored to the people

January 2, 2007 - Press Release - Gov-Elect Patrick Statement on Marriage Vote Unconscionable;
Tells lawmakers to violate the constitution as a matter of "conscience"

December 27, 2006 - Statement - VoteOnMarriage Statement on SJC Ruling

December 13, 2006 - Press Release - VoteOnMarriage Files Suit Against 109 Massachusetts Legislators

December 12, 2006 - Media Advisory - VoteOnMarriage to File Suit Against Massachusetts Legislators

December 9, 2006 - Speech - Barnstable Rally for Democracy - Judge John St. Cyr

November 30, 2006 - Press Release - Legislators Debate Fluff and Reptiles, but Fail to Vote on the Marriage Amendment

November 14, 2006 - Statement - A Personal Message from Kris Mineau

November 9, 2006 - Press Release - Legislature Recesses without Vote on the People's Marriage Amendment; Constitution Requires Governor's Action

November 7, 2006 - Press Release - Election 2006 Yields Sufficient Support in Legislature to Approve Marriage Amendment in 2007

November 2, 2006 - Press Release - Gay Advocacy Newspaper Says, "It's Payback Time - Kill the Marriage Amendment"

October 25, 2006 - Press Release - Civil Rights Come from Laws, not Judges

October 23, 2006 - Press Release - VoteOnMarriage.org Launches Radio Campaign

October 18, 2006 - Press Release - VoteOnMarriage.org Delivers Rubber Ducks to 100 Legislators

September 29, 2006 - Press Release - VoteOnMarriage.org statement on Rhode Island Court Decision

September 20, 2006 - Press Release - VoteOnMarriage.org statement on Primary Elections

July 19, 2006 - Statement - A Personal Message from Kris Mineau

July 12, 2006 - Press Release - Legislature Stalls Vote on the People's Amendment on Marriage Until November

July 10, 2006 - Press Release - Statement by Kris Mineau, VoteOnMarriage.org in Response to Supreme Judicial Court Decision on Schulman v. Reilly

June 28, 2006 - Press Conference - Remarks by Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA)

June 28, 2006 - Press Conference - Remarks by Cardinal Sean O'Malley, Archdiocese of Boston

June 28, 2006 - Press Conference - Remarks by Dr. Roberto Miranda, VoteOnMarriage.org Chairman

June 28, 2006 - Press Release - Gov. Romney Joins Civic and Religious Leaders to Urge Passage of Protection of Marriage Amendment Allowing citizens the right to define marriage in Massachusetts

June 19, 2006 - Press Release - Newspaper Ads Say, "Iraqis Have the Right to Vote…What About Us?" Urge Citizens to Contact Legislators to Support the Marriage Amendment

June 12, 2006 - Press Release - Radio Campaign Urges Citizens to Contact Legislators and Secure their Right to Vote on Marriage

May 9, 2006 - Press Release - Marriage Vote in Legislature Delayed until July

May 5, 2006 - Press Release - Marriage Amendment Legislative Vote will be Delayed; New Poll Shows 75% of Registered Voters Want to Vote On Marriage

May 5, 2006 - Press Release - VoteOnMarriage.org Abhors Anti-Homosexual Group's Tactics; Says they Don't Speak for Us

April 11, 2006 - Legislative Hearing - Testimony by Kris Mineau, President, Massachusetts Family Institute

April 11, 2006 - Legislative Hearing - Testimony by Louis DeSerres, B.A., M.B.A.

April 11, 2006 - Legislative Hearing - Testimony by Dawn C. Stefanowicz

April 11, 2006 - Legislative Hearing - Testimony by Dwight Duncan, Professor, Southern New England School of Law

January 26, 2006 - Press Release - VoteOnMarriage.org Cites MassEquality with Identity Theft and Fraud; Challenges False Allegations

January 11, 2006 - Press Release - Lawmakers File Benefits Fairness Act

January 9, 2006 - Press Release - VoteOnMarriage.org Seeks Investigation of Anti-Vote Websites and Prosecution of Paid Circulator

December 20, 2005 - Press Release - Secretary of State Confirms Marriage Amendment Petition Drive
Broke all Records for Signatures Gathered and Certified

December 7, 2005 - Press Release - 170,000 Marriage Amendment Signatures Collected - Unprecedented response sends strong message to Legislature - Let the People Vote!

November 22, 2005 - Press Release - VoteOnMarriage.org Exceeds Goal - Collecting Over 120,000 Signatures

September 7, 2005 - Press Release - Attorney General Certifies Language of Citizen Initiative Petition to Amend the State Constitution on the Definition of Marriage

August 2, 2004 - Press Release - Coalition for Marriage and Family Delivers Marriage Protection Citizen Initiative Petition to the Attorney General

June 16, 2005 - Press Release - Coalition for Marriage and Family Announces Opposition to Travaglini-Lees Amendment and Launches VoteOnMarriage.org - a Citizens Initiative Petition Drive to Allow Massachusetts Citizens to Define Marriage

June 16, 2005 Press Conference - Remarks of Kris Mineau, President, Massachusetts Family Institute

June 16, 2005 Press Conference - Remarks of Dr. Roberto Miranda, Chairman, VoteOnMarriage.org

June 16, 2005 Press Conference - Remarks of Bishop Gilbert Thompson

June 16, 2005 Press Conference - Catholic Bishop's Statement on Marriage Amendment












 

June 14, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719


Legislature Votes Down Marriage Amendment
Unrelenting Pressure by Patrick, Murray, DiMasi Blamed

Boston - VoteOnMarriage.org - the campaign to allow the voters to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - expressed outrage over today's Constitutional Convention vote on the Marriage Amendment citing the unrelenting pressure by Governor Patrick, House Speaker DiMasi and Senate President Therese Murray forcing some lawmakers to switch their positions on the issue during the 11th hour.

"The Marriage Amendment won its first legislative vote and was on track to win its second with a healthy margin. The unprecedented pressure by leaders on Beacon Hill - the rumors of patronage jobs by Governor Patrick and arm-twisting by House Speaker DiMasi - derailed the largest initiative petition drive by citizens in the Commonwealth's history and this is a brutal loss for citizen-centered democracy," said Kris Mineau, president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org.

All three Beacon Hill leaders opposed the people's right to vote on marriage. Allegations of bribery by the Governor and arm twisting by the House Speaker as a means of pressuring legislators to switch their vote have been reported widely in the press in recent weeks.

"The Governor and House Speaker have been unrelenting in fighting the natural course of advancement on the marriage amendment and the people's right to vote," said Mineau. "We will look very closely at the circumstances by which legislators switched their vote for ethics violations or improprieties."

Citizens in 45 states have weighed in on the definition of marriage either through the legislative process or by constitutional amendments. VoteOnMarriage.org vows to continue the fight for the people of Massachusetts to be heard on this issue.

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May 17, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

Statement of Kris Mineau in Response to
Boston Globe Report on Marriage Amendment

Woburn, MA - VoteOnMarriage.org strongly refutes the allegations reported in today's Boston Globe that Marriage Amendment support in the legislature is slimming.

No legislator has made such a pronouncement and the Globe's foray into supposition, citing unnamed sources, is irresponsible and calls into question whether their editorial bias on this issue is slipping into their reporting of the facts.

Legislators who support the citizens' right to have a voice on marriage have been pressured by their leadership, the Governor, and even U.S. Speaker of the House Pelosi. It's time for outside voices and speculators to back off and let legislators represent the people who elected them, without fear of reprisal or even political manslaughter by their leadership.

Kris Mineau is president of the Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman for VoteOnMarriage.org.

# # #


May 16, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

VoteOnMarriage.org Reminds Legislators of the Meaning of Marriage

Woburn, MA - In recognition of the third year that same sex marriages have taken place in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by court directive, VoteOnMarriage.org will distribute to legislators on May 17 a white paper reminding them of the historical, linguistic and timeless truth about marriage as the union of one man and one woman. To view a PDF file of this legislator brief, click here.

"We do not doubt the earnestness, love and commitment of same sex couples and they deserve liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But we reject the notion of marriage being redefined arbitrarily by a court to become something new today…and, in time, something else tomorrow," said Kris Mineau, president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org.

VoteOnMarriage.org will persist, through every constitutional means, in the effort to uphold what has been true about the definition of marriage for all time and in every language.

# # #


May 14, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

Statement of Kris Mineau in Response to
Attorney General Coakely's Comments about the
Marriage Amendment

Woburn, MA - Attorney General Martha Coakley, in addressing members of the Massachusetts Lesbian & Gay Bar Association on May 11, said that she would offer the full support of her office in challenging the Massachusetts Marriage Amendment if it were to be enacted by the citizens of the Commonwealth.

"The language of the Marriage Amendment was approved by Attorney General Tom Reilly in the fall of 2005. His decision was challenged in court by opponents of the citizens' right to vote on the definition of marriage and the State Supreme Judicial Court unanimously upheld Attorney General Reilly's decision to let the Marriage Amendment go forward under the rules of Article 48. The Marriage Amendment now awaits a second legislative vote and if approved, it will go before the voters for their consideration.

"Making political hay before like-minded advocates on a measure that has yet to be vetted by the legislature and the people smacks of a kind of advocacy that does not reflect due process and the rights of all the citizens Attorney General Coakley has been elected to serve.

"The Attorney General has injected a level of personal bias into her professional role and that is inappropriate for a constitutional officer of the Commonwealth."

# # #


May 9, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

Legislature Stalls Vote on Marriage Amendment Vote
Constitutional Convention Recessed to June 14


Boston - VoteOnMarriage.org - the campaign to allow the voters to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - was disappointed when Senate President Therese Murray recessed the Constitutional Convention without taking a vote on the Marriage Amendment. The Convention is now set to resume on June 14 at 1 PM.

"Senate President Murray gave her word that a vote would be taken on the Marriage Amendment after the state budget deliberations were concluded, and we take her at her word," said Kris Mineau, president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org.

Hundreds of Marriage Amendment supporters who came to the State House from all over Massachusetts to support the amendment were disappointed that they would again have to come to the State House hoping for a legislative vote.

In the fall of 2005, more than 170,000 signatures were gathered in support of the Marriage Amendment. It took the legislature a full year after the Secretary of State certified the Amendment to take the first of two constitutionally prescribed votes on the measure. If approved at the next Constitutional Convention, the Marriage Amendment goes before the voters in November 2008.


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April 17, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

Suffolk Poll Says Nearly Two-Thirds of Registered Voters want to
Vote on Marriage

Newton Upper Falls, MA – A just released Suffolk University poll shows that 63% of registered voters believe that Massachusetts residents should vote on the definition of marriage.

“This poll is consistent with past polls and what we have said all along, that the people have a right and a desire to vote on marriage,” said Kris Mineau, president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org.

The continued support for a vote on marriage comes just weeks before the May 9 Constitutional Convention where the Marriage Amendment is first on the agenda.

“If legislators are serious about listening to the people, they would be compelled to vote “yes” on the marriage amendment on May 9—without any further stalling or delays,” Mineau concluded.

The question was part of an omnibus poll of Massachusetts voters conducted by the Suffolk University Political Research Center.

# # #


April 2, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

VoteOnMarriage.org Denounces Marriage Law Repeal


Newton Upper Falls - In a move that would create legal confusion and chaos around the nation, Governor Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi said they would support repealing a law that precludes out of state couples whose marriage would not be legal in their home state from coming to Massachusetts to marry.

Forty five states, either by statute or by constitutional amendment, expressly define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The states of New Mexico, New Jersey, Rhode Island and New York presently do not define marriage.

"What right do Massachusetts elected officials have to circumvent the marriage laws of the 49 other states?" said Kris Mineau, president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org.

As the only state that recognizes same-sex marriage, the Massachusetts law is an important defense for preserving the autonomy of each state to ensure sovereignty in defining marriage.

"This move is a clear example why we need a Federal Marriage Amendment," Mineau concluded.

# # #


April 2, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

Statement of Kris Mineau in Response to
Governor Patrick's Same Sex Marriage Action


Newton Upper Falls - Governor Deval Patrick ordered 26 same sex marriages to be recorded by the Department of Public Health that are illegal according to existing Massachusetts law. City clerks in four Massachusetts communities - Worcester, Somerville, Provincetown and Springfield - issued marriage licenses illegally to the couples in violation of Governor Romney's order and Massachusetts law.

"Governor Patrick is placing his personal preference above the law, and that can never be justified especially as the state's highest constitutional officer," said Kris Mineau, president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org.

The Massachusetts law the Governor is flouting prevents couples from marrying in Massachusetts who could not legally marry in their own home state. Forty four states, either by statue or by constitutional amendment, expressly forbid same sex marriage.

# # #


March 21, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719


VoteOnMarriage.org and Marriage Amendment Supporters
Call on Murray to Uphold the Constitution and Ensure a Vote


Newton Upper Falls - VoteOnMarriage.org - the campaign to allow the people to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - welcomes newly elected Senate President Therese Murray to her post and urges her, in her new capacity presiding over Constitutional Conventions, to uphold her oath of office and ensure a swift and forthright vote on the marriage amendment this May 9.

"Implied in the new Senate President's oath must be a commitment to obey the Constitution as clearly written and recently restated by the state's high court that every amendment before the Convention must receive a vote." said Kris Mineau, president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org.

As affirmed by several previous Supreme Judicial Court rulings and again last December, only a full up or down vote constitutes "final resolution" on amendments before the Convention.

Murray predecessor Robert Travaglini ultimately led the Convention to a vote on the marriage amendment last session after numerous delays. The amendment requires a second legislative vote this session before going to the voters-the ultimate arbiters of all citizen-initiated amendments.

"While we recognize that Murray, a supporter of same sex marriage, previously voted against the marriage amendment, she now represents all the citizens of the Commonwealth and they, too, deserve the right to vote on this amendment," Mineau added.

VoteOnMarriage.org has activated its significant grassroots coalition to urge Senate President Murray to allow a full and fair vote on the marriage amendment.

More than 170,000 citizens signed petitions to bring the marriage amendment to a legislative vote and ultimately to the ballot in 2008.

# # #


January 9, 2007
For immediate release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

Massachusetts Family Institute Announces Initiative to Promote
Mutual Understanding and Dialogue on Same Sex Marriage

Newton Upper Falls - Massachusetts Family Institute (MFI) today announced an initiative that seeks to build mutual respect and dialogue between those who support and those who oppose same sex marriage in Massachusetts.

Advocates for same sex marriage routinely have called supporters of the marriage amendment hateful and bigoted, while amendment supporters say they are simply following the constitutional process to have their voice heard on what they view as an important social issue.

MFI and VoteOnMarriage.org - the ballot question committee seeking to advance the Massachusetts marriage amendment - has endeavored to advance a campaign that refrains from name calling and does not denigrate individuals. However, as many political pundits predict, the same sex marriage debate, much like the abortion debate, will be with us for decades and MFI sees a need and an opportunity to work with leaders on all sides to promote justice in the way we discuss our differences.

"The tone and rhetoric around this public policy issue has escalated to a frenzied level, too often with shouting that does nothing promote understanding. Denouncing individuals as bigots does not bring people with honest differences together. We would like to work with our opponents to raise the quality of the dialogue," said Kris Mineau, president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarrige.org

In the coming months, MFI will convene forums and develop policy recommendations on ways to build bridges and promote positive dialogue on the very real and honest differences both sides share relative to same sex marriage and its implications on social policy in the Commonwealth.

Even as this initiative beings to take shape, MFI and VoteOnMarriage.org will continue to urge supporters of the marriage amendment to be respectful of human differences and always maintain a dialogue that affirms the dignity of every person.

"I have come to know my political opponent Marc Solomon, executive director of MassEquality as a gentleman who has strong personal convictions," Mineau added. "I believe that if asked he would come to the table in good faith to advance meaningful dialogue that his supporters also would embrace-today begins the process of asking."

MFI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy institute dedicated to strengthening the family in Massachusetts.

# # #


January 2, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

Legislative Support for Marriage Amendment Upheld in Second Vote

Boston - After a series of parliamentary moves to undo today's successful vote on the marriage amendment in Constitutional Convention, the marriage amendment won a second vote with 62 lawmakers approving the measure. It will advance to the 2007 legislative session.

# # #



January 2, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

Massachusetts Marriage Amendment Wins Legislative Support
Citizen initiative petition process restored to the people

Boston -Today, the people's amendment on marriage won legislative support, advancing the amendment to the 2007 Constitutional Convention in an effort to place the measure before the voters in 2008. The Protection of Marriage Amendment received 61 votes. Fifty votes were needed for the amendment to pass-one-quarter of the joint legislature.

"Today's victory is about restoring the integrity and authority of the people's constitutional right to petition their government," said Kris Mineau, president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org. "It says to the 170,000 citizens who signed the petitions for the right to vote on marriage that democracy still works in Massachusetts for those who are willing to take a stand for justice."

The protection of marriage amendment was certified by the Secretary of the Commonwealth in December 2005 and awaited a legislative vote for a full year.

"Those in the legislature who sought to thwart the will and right of the people for the better part of a year conceded at the eleventh hour to the clear directive of the constitution," Mineau concluded.

VoteOnMarriage.org thanks Senate President Travaglini, who conducted a dignified proceeding-allowing members to take a full and fair vote as directed by the Massachusetts constitution.

# # #



January 2, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

Gov-Elect Patrick Statement on Marriage Vote Unconscionable
Tells lawmakers to violate the constitution as a matter of "conscience"

Boston -Today, Governor-Elect Patrick emerged from a meeting with House Speaker DiMasi urging the legislature to violate the clear mandate of the state constitution by avoiding, by any means possible, a vote on the marriage amendment.

"The same court which gave Massachusetts same-sex marriage also requires a vote on citizen petitions; I respectfully state that Mr. Patrick is dangerously misguided in calling on the legislature to violate the constitution for any matter of 'conscience'," said Kris Mineau, president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org.

On December 27, the State Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the legislature is constitutionally-required to vote on the marriage amendment.

"This is not a question of conscience, it is a question of abiding by the clear directive of the constitution," said Mineau. "We are a Commonwealth of laws and our elected leaders above all must abide by the constitution."

The Governor-Elect will take his oath of office this Thursday.

# # #


December 27, 2006
VoteOnMarriage Statement on SJC Ruling
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

The SJC has made it crystal clear: the constitution requires a vote on the marriage amendment. As such, we expect a fair up or down vote on January 2, there are no more excuses for legislators to hide behind. As such we expect Senate President Travaglini to conduct a constitutional convention on January 2 that meets all the requirements of Article 48.

Excerpt:

“We conclude with these observations. Some members of the General Court may have reasoned, in good faith, that a vote on the merits of the initiative amendment in accordance with the directives of the pertinent provisions of art. 48 was not required by the constitutional text and that their duty could be met by procedural (or other) votes short of a vote by the yeas and nays on the merits. Today's discussion and holding on the meaning of the duty lays any doubt to rest. The members of the General Court are the people's elected representatives, and each one of them has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the Commonwealth. Those members who now seek to avoid their lawful obligations, by a vote to recess without a roll call vote by yeas and nays on the merits of the initiative amendment (or by other procedural vote of similar consequence), ultimately will have to answer to the people who elected them.”

CLICK HERE to read the full decision (Click on OPINIONS).


December 13, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719 for VoteOnMarriage.org
Greg Scott (480) 710-1965 for Alliance Defense Fund

VoteOnMarriage.org Files Suit Against 109
Massachusetts Legislators
for Failing to Vote on the Marriage Amendment

Boston - VoteOnMarriage.org - the campaign to allow the people to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - today filed suit against 109 Massachusetts legislators in U.S. District Court in Worcester, Massachusetts for violating the constitutional rights of Massachusetts citizens by intentionally refusing to vote on a citizen initiative amendment on the definition of marriage.

Represented by Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), VoteOnMarriage.org seeks to hold those legislators who have refused to obey the constitution, individually and financially accountable for violating the rights of Massachusetts citizens.

"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, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org.

Without legal intervention or a clear up or down vote by the legislature prior to the end of the legislative session on January 2, 2007, the marriage amendment-brought forward by 170,000 citizens-will expire. The legislature will reconvene in Constitutional Convention on January 2 where observers believe debate on the marriage amendment will be filibustered until the clock runs out. According to Article 48 of the Massachusetts constitution, and previously upheld by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, the legislature has a legal and constitutional duty to vote upon all citizen initiative amendments duly brought before them.

Senate President Robert Travaglini controls the rostrum during the convention and as such has sole discretion as to who is recognized to make motions or to debate. House Speaker Sal DiMasi, a vocal opponent of the marriage amendment, lobbied a majority of the caucus on November 9, 2006 to vote to recess the convention to the last day of the legislative calendar-an effort to kill the amendment without a clear up or down vote.

"We are asking the Massachusetts legislature to fulfill its responsibility to the citizens of Massachusetts, to follow the constitution they have sworn to uphold and to vote on the marriage amendment," said Glen Lavy, Senior Counsel, and Senior Vice President for marriage litigation, ADF. "If they do not, then they will be held accountable for deliberately violating the law."

The suit is comprised of four causes of action and seeks equitable relief and damages. Plaintiffs include VoteOnMarriage.org and 10 individuals who signed the marriage petition. The causes of action are:

  • violation of plaintiffs' rights to free speech pursuant to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution;
  • violation of plaintiffs' rights to petition the government pursuant to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution;
  • violation of plaintiffs' fundamental rights to vote pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; and
  • violation of plaintiffs' rights to procedural due process pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

VoteOnMarriage.org and co-plaintiffs ask the court to:

  • declare that the defendants have violated the US Constitution as stated in the four causes of action;
  • waive the defendants' ability to oppose the initiative in the 2006 constitutional convention and rule that the votes to recess on November 9 are to be counted as votes in favor of the amendment; and
  • force the defendants to refund to VoteonMarriage.org the money expended on the campaign, plus punitive damages in an amount determined by a jury.

"The arrogance of the legislators is why we seek punitive damages," Mr. Lavy added.

Tom Shields, chairman, the Coalition for Marriage and Family, an umbrella organization backing the marriage amendment said, "We support this suit because it will restore the integrity of the citizen initiative process and put its power back in the hands of 'we the people'- not an elitist legislature."

Glen Lavy, senior counsel and senior vice president for Marriage Litigation at ADF, will serve as lead attorney. Mr. Lavy joined ADF in 2001 and previously was engaged in private practice. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School. While there, Mr. Lavy served as an Executive Editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.

Visit www.VoteOnMarriage.org for a link to the full complaint.

Read the Full Complaint: http://www.telladf.org/UserDocs/VOMcomplaint.pdf

# # #


December 12, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719 for VoteOnMarriage.org
Greg Scott (480) 710-1965 for Alliance Defense Fund

VoteOnMarriage.org to File Suit Against Massachusetts Legislators
Names 109 Massachusetts Legislators as Defendants for Violating
Constitutional Rights of Massachusetts Citizens to Vote on a Duly Processed
Citizens Initiative Amendment on Marriage


WHO

  • Kris Mineau, president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org
  • Glen Lavy, senior counsel, Alliance Defense Fund

WHAT

  • Mr. Mineau will provide context and background on a citizen initiative amendment effort on the definition of marriage advanced in Massachusetts upon which the state legislature has intentionally refused to vote.
  • Mr. Lavy will provide background on a lawsuit to be filed on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 in U.S. District Court brought forward by VoteOnMarriage.org; including details on remedies and damages sought.

WHEN
Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - 1:30 PM

WHERE
Omni Parker House Hotel
Kennedy Room - Main Lobby Level
60 School Street
Boston, MA 02108

RSVP
Only credential media will be permitted
RSVP to Lisa Barstow | lisa@barstowcom.com or (617) 480-1719

AV NOTICE
A molt box will be provided

# # #


Barnstable Rally for Democracy
Saturday, December 9, 2006
Speech - Judge John St. Cyr

I do solemnly swear that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and will support the constitution thereof. So help me God.

I was 31 years old and a freshman member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives when I first took that oath. I can still remember the emotion of accepting that awesome responsibility. In five years of casting hundreds of votes, I cannot recall one occasion when I considered a measure so devoid of merit that it was unworthy of my vote either for or against.

On November 9th, 2006, 109 legislators violated that oath by refusing to vote on the initiative petition to amend the constitution by defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Those who defend their failure to vote argue that the constitution does not require that they vote thereon. In order to explain the fallacy of that argument, I wish to give you some insight into the nature and origin of the initiative petition, sometimes called the people’s petition. During the years of 1917 thru 1919, an extraordinary constitutional convention was conducted for the purpose of revising our constitution. Prior to that convention, the only avenue available to amend the constitution was the majority vote of the legislature in two consecutive sessions followed by favorable ballot action. One of the primary issues in that convention was the creation of an initiative petition for a constitutional amendment whereby the voters could propose an amendment by filing with the legislature a petition signed by a designated number of voters. If 25 % of the members of the legislature voted in favor of the proposed amendment in two consecutive sessions, the matter would be placed on the ballot. The low 25% threshold was intended to recognize the preeminence of the will of the people over the will of a politically influenced legislature in the matter of amendments to their constitution. The convention ultimately adopted the initiative petition which now is contained within Article 48 of the amendments to our constitution. During the debate at the convention, John W. Cummings, a delegate from Fall River and a supporter of the amendment, explained that the need for the initiative process was driven by the lack of action on the part of the legislature in amending the constitution. It was the initiative process that would afford an alternative avenue for such relief if faced with a recalcitrant and obstructionist legislature. Eighty-eight years later, we now face a recalcitrant legislature intent on thwarting the will of the people.

One section of the Article 48 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts constitution provides that “A proposal for amendment to the constitution introduced by initiative shall be voted on in the form in which it was introduced” and “Final legislative action in the joint session upon any amendment shall be taken only by the call of the yeas and nays”. That initiative petition was considered so important to the framers of this section, that they further provided that the legislature was not allowed to amend the petition except by a vote of three fourths of its membership. Little did they suspect that the petition could be killed in 2006 by a majority vote to recess.

It is important to note that no initiative petition, regardless of its subject matter, is presented to the legislature without a review by the Attorney General who confirms that the amendment does not include matters which are expressly excluded from consideration.

It does not require a constitutional scholar to conclude that the clear mandate of the constitution requires a recorded vote on a proposed amendment. To argue otherwise would render meaningless the entire process for the amendment of our constitution by initiative petition. One of the basic principles for the interpretation of the law is that no interpretation thereof shall be controlling which renders it void of meaning.

In 2002, President of the senate Birmingham adjourned a joint constitutional convention without a vote on a prior petition to amend the constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Undaunted by such cowardice, many of you here present circulated a new petition to achieve that goal and worked tirelessly to obtain the necessary signatures. Over 170,00 voters signed that petition thereby presenting the issue to the legislature once again, hoping against hope that they would have grown some backbone. The votes of only 25 % of legislators or fifty in number were needed to advance that petition to the next legislative session and on to the ballot. On two occasions in this year, the members of the current legislature, guided by its manipulative leadership, used every conceivable devious tactic available to avoid a vote which the constitution requires them to cast.

In simple terms, we do not elect Representatives and Senators to give flowery speeches in their chambers, to attend political functions and to raise money for their reelection. We elect them to vote and when they refuse to do so they fail us rather than serve us. In their daily sessions, they vote on many matters that have little or no impact on the lives of the people. How much more imperative that they cast a vote, whether for or against, on a matter as important as the document which guided the very foundation of our state, its constitution.

Lest our friends and neighbors who oppose our efforts conclude that our zeal is directed by animosity toward them or their sexual orientation, I point out that we are not alone in our denunciation of the tactics of our elected representatives. I am confident that most of you, regardless of your opinion on the issue of gay marriage, feel that quality health care is important to all of us. Yet our legislature also refused to vote on another initiative petition which would have named such health care as a constitutional right. In that instance, the matter was sent to a study commission in spite of the overwhelming support of the issue in a previous joint constitutional convention.

Were it not for the action of our Supreme Court, our roles might realistically be reversed. If the supporters of gay marriage in that instant had taken the necessary steps to place gay marriage before the legislature in the form of an initiative petition to enthrone gay marriage as a constitutional right, they might well be rallying and railing against legislative inaction. While I would oppose their position on the merits of the proposed amendment, I for one would join them in demanding that the legislature vote on their petition.

There are many who urge us to give up the fight and move on. We would have moved on long ago had President of the Senate Birmingham, presiding over the joint constitutional convention in

2002, not chosen to adjourn and thus thwart the will of the people on a validly presented initiative petition. We would have moved on had President of the Senate Travaglini allowed a vote on the instant initiative petition in July or November of this year. And we will move on if the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which made our petition necessary by finding a constitutional right where none existed, has the courage to right that wrong by ordering the legislature to vote. This is my Christmas wish. God bless you and Merry Christmas !!!!!


November 30, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

Legislators Debate Fluff and Reptiles, but Fail to Vote on the Marriage Amendment

Newton Upper Falls, MA - As the citizens of Massachusetts plead with lawmakers to come back into session to uphold the constitution and bring the Marriage Amendment to a fair up or down vote, members of the state senate today found time to advance a bill naming the Garter Snake as the official reptile of the Commonwealth.

"In summer months the Legislature debated Fluffernutter, today they name the Garter Snake the official reptile of the Commonwealth. If they fail to vote on the Marriage Amendment by January 2, they can name dodge ball our official state sport. Certainly the sarcasm and hypocrisy can't be missed… citizens have to wonder who the official snakes really are in Massachusetts," said Kris Mineau, president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org.

Against this backdrop, today Governor Romney's request to bring this matter before the state Supreme Judicial Court was heard by Justice Corwin and she has determined to advance it to the full court on December 20.

"Whether through the courts or by the legislators coming to their own senses, the citizens of Massachusetts deserve to have the legislature restore the integrity of the citizens initiative petition process, and they deserve a chance to vote on the Marriage Amendment," Mineau concluded.

VoteOnMarriage.org calls on Senate President Travaglini to allow a rigorous debate on the marriage amendment and ensure that a full up or down vote is taken in accordance with the Constitution.

# # #


November 14, 2006
Statement from Kris Mineau

Last week, Arline Isaacson, co-chair of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus (and chief lobbyist for the Massachusetts Teachers Association), stood boldly before a cheering crowd at the State House shouting "it's over, it's over." By a vote of 109 to 87, legislators recessed the Constitutional Convention to January 2 without taking a vote on the people's amendment on marriage. Each of those 109 legislators personally broke their oath of office and violated the constitution with the clear intention of never taking a vote on the people's business.

Media outlets from the Boston Globe to the Wall Street Journal and all across the Commonwealth and the country have opined about this dereliction of duty by the Massachusetts legislature. I have only one thing to say to Arline Isaacson and those like her: No, it's not over!

But to you and the tens of thousands of concerned, involved citizens who have stood with us since the beginning of this fight, I have this to say: We'll continue to fight until justice and democracy rule in Massachusetts for all citizens! While the legislature intentionally provided few alternatives for us with their blatantly unconstitutional maneuver, we are not without options and we are not without hope.

Even now, our lawyers and strategists are looking at options, both legal and political, to compel the legislature back into session to take that vote, and we have confidence that we can succeed in that regard. Backers of the Marriage Amendment are not alone in this fight. In their rush to shut down the Constitutional Convention to run from the same-sex marriage issue, lawmakers also gave a blow to a citizen-initiated amendment on universal healthcare. This measure, too, deserves a legislative vote.

As of now, January 2 is the day of reckoning for a vote on the Marriage Amendment. Then we'll see if House Speaker DiMasi will continue to be successful with his arm-twisting of members - many of whom stood with us not to recess until the Speaker personally pressured them into violating their oath of office.

As you know, gay-rights advocacy organizations, according to their own gay and lesbian newspaper, Bay Windows, poured $1 million into the November 7 election for one key reason: so lawmakers would be indebted to them and return the favor by killing the Marriage Amendment by any means possible.

This is a tragic time in our democracy, and will be a defining moment in our history. The actions of those who oppose real democracy are being exposed and people like you and me are standing up for truth and justice. We're mobilized, and we're not backing down! Your continued presence at the State House during key events is crucial, and we're looking ahead to a January 2 showdown. Your calls to legislators, letters to the editors, and personal dialogues with friends and family to get them involved in this noble fight will ultimately win the day.

Be sure to visit the VoteOnMarriage website (http://www.voteonmarriage.org/contactinformation109.shtml) for the names of the 109 legislators who betrayed our constitution and violated their oath of office.

We can move Massachusetts in the right direction by simply standing up in the face of a state legislature dominated by greed and arrogance. It's our state, not theirs. Don't let them take away your right to be heard!

Please, continue to take action as we send updates and alerts on our progress going forward. There are 49 days left between now and January 2. Together, we will win this fight!

May God bless the Commonwealth and all our families,

Kris Mineau
President, Massachusetts Family Institute and
Spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org

November 9, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719


Legislature Recesses without Vote on the People's Marriage Amendment;
Constitution Requires Governor's Action


Newton Upper Falls, MA - VoteOnMarriage.org - the campaign to allow the people to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - announced that in today's Constitutional Convention the legislature voted to recess until January 2007 without taking a vote on the people's amendment on marriage, agenda item 20 on the Constitutional Convention calendar.

A legislative amendment on marriage, brought forward by gay marriage supporter Sen. Jarrett Barrios, was voted upon and defeated, but the citizen-initiated amendment on marriage did not receive a vote.

"Senate President Travaglini and House Speaker DiMasi have broken trust with the citizens of Massachusetts by delaying the people's constitutional business,?" said Kris Mineau, president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org. "Is this the 'new day' the citizens of Massachusetts voted for?" Mineau added.

Article 48 of the Constitution requires the Governor to call the legislature to fulfill their obligation to vote on the people's amendment.

"With the failure of the legislators to vote on the people's amendment, we are confident that Governor Romney will fulfill his constitutional obligation under Article 48 to ensure the people's voices are heard," said Tom Shields, chairman, Coalition for Marriage
and Family.

The marriage amendment requires support by 25% of the legislature in 2006 and 2007 before it goes to the statewide ballot in 2008.

More than 170,000 citizens signed petitions to bring the marriage amendment before the legislature.

# # #


November 7, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

Election 2006 Yields Sufficient Support in Legislature to
Approve Marriage Amendment in 2007


Newton Upper Falls, MA - VoteOnMarriage.org - the campaign to allow the people to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - announced that sufficient support in the state legislature for the people's right to vote on marriage will continue into 2007.

"While VoteOnMarriage.org has not been involved in the election, we are nonetheless interested in its outcome," said Kris Mineau, president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org.

Returns from around the state as of this writing show that returning and newly elected officials who support the marriage amendment will exceed the required 25% of the legislature for the session beginning in 2007.

Same sex marriage advocacy organizations gave close to $1 million to fund candidates this election cycle according to media reports.

"In spite of astronomical expenditures by the same sex marriage lobby, the people voted for candidates who value their voice on the marriage issue," Mineau noted.

More than 170,000 citizens signed petitions to bring the marriage amendment to a legislative vote and ultimately to the ballot in 2008. The first legislative vote on the marriage amendment is planned for Thursday, November 9.

VoteOnMarriage.org anticipates maintaining sufficient support to advance the amendment to the ballot in 2008.

# # #

November 2, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

Gay Advocacy Newspaper Says,
"It's Payback Time - Kill the Marriage Amendment"

Newton Upper Falls - The gay advocacy newspaper Bay Windows today issued an open letter to the Massachusetts legislature urging them to kill, through any means possible, the people's amendment on marriage. VoteOnMarriage.org supports the people's right to vote on marriage following the process established by the Massachusetts constitution.

The marriage amendment, put forward thorough the signatures of over 170,000 citizens, is scheduled for a vote by the Constitutional Convention on November 9.

In the open letter, Bay Windows editor, Susan Ryan-Vollmar states:

"Through organized groups like MassEquality, the Freedom to Marry Coalition and the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, LGBT people have volunteered for your political campaigns. We have raised close to a million dollars for you. We have urged our friends to vote for you."

"the only honorable way to deal with this amendment is by killing it. We don't care how it's done: Vote it down, adjourn the ConCon, fail to make a quorum. Whatever. Just make this thing go away. Lawmakers owe the LGBT community nothing less."

"Ms. Ryan-Vollmar's directive is a clear quid-pro-quo: we funded your campaigns to the tune of a million dollars, now go and violate the constitution as payback to the gay community," said Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman for VoteOnMarriage.org.

"Legislators who break their oath and follow this directive prove they are bought and paid for by the gay rights lobby, and cannot be trusted to serve the all the people of the Commonwealth," Mineau added.

VoteOnMarriage.org urges all legislators to follow the constitution and be accountable to all the people, not just the ones who fund their campaigns.

Citizens are urged to contact their legislators personally and demand they obey the constitution and vote on the marriage amendment on November 9.

# # #


October 25, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

Civil Rights Come from Laws, not Judges

Newton Upper Falls - VoteOnMarriage.org - the campaign to allow the voters to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - today released on its Website policy reviews refuting the false assertion that same sex marriage rises to the level of a civil right.

"A review of civil rights law in the United States shows that civil rights come from either constitutional provisions or civil rights legislation, which are enacted through the democratic process; they don't come from judges," said Daniel Avila, Esq. author of the policy reviews.

The policy reviews-in long form, short form and in presentation formats-detail how civil rights laws have been enacted in the United States. The documents make plain that heretofore, no legislation or movement of the people has been ratified to create a civil right to same sex marriage. If and when it does, only then can the case be made that same sex marriage is a civil right.

"Every Massachusetts legislator should carefully weigh the evidence put forward in these documents and recognize that the only way to put an end to the same sex marriage debate in Massachusetts is to vote to let the people vote on marriage," said Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman for VoteOnMarriage.org.

A joint session of the Massachusetts legislature meets in Constitutional Convention on November 9 to determine the fate of the Marriage Amendment-brought forward by 170,000 citizens, approved by the Attorney General of Massachusetts and certified by the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

VoteOnMarriage.org supports passage of the Marriage Amendment. The policy reviews can be viewed and downloaded by visiting www.voteonmarriage.org/civilrights.shtml.

# # #


October 23, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

VoteOnMarriage.org Launches Radio Campaign

Newton Upper Falls - VoteOnMarriage.org - the campaign to allow the voters to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - has launched a series of :30 and :60 radio advertisements aimed at urging legislators to vote on the Marriage Amendment on November 9.

Airing in a variety of news and talk radio outlets, the ads highlight the quotes from newspaper editorials condemning the legislature for failing to take a vote on the marriage amendment last July. Variations of the ad call on citizens to hold their legislators accountable and urge them to support the people's right to a vote on marriage.

"We want citizens statewide to know that the legislature's track record on the marriage amendment has been abysmal. They are not being responsive to the will of the people and they must be held accountable to hold a vote as required by our constitution," said Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman for VoteOnMarriage.org.

In one spot, quotes from editorials in The Boston Globe, The MetroWest Daily News and The Eagle-Tribune punctuate the legislature's lack of accountability to the people. Other spots reference issues of vital importance to citizens that the legislature continues to avoid, namely Big Dig accountability, the tax rollback and, of course, the marriage amendment.

The full text of the spots follows. Audio files of the ads can be found here.

Spot A
Last July, The Metro West Daily News called for an, "honest debate, and an honorable vote" on the Marriage Amendment. But the state legislature stalled a vote twice to avoid accountability. The Boston Globe said that, "no principled argument" justified the "Marriage Amendment" delay and The Lawrence Eagle Tribune called it, "the coward's way out." Let's hold Beacon Hill accountable this November. Call your legislators today 617-722-2000 and demand they do their job and Let the People Vote on Marriage. Paid for by VoteOnMarriage.org

Spot B
Last July, Beacon Hill legislators stalled a vote on the Marriage Amendment for a second time. Then they ran in circles over the Big Dig disaster, and again refused to reduce the income tax rate to 5% -- as the people voted. It's time to hold Beacon Hill accountable. Tell them to support your right to vote on marriage. Call your state senator and representative today at (617) 722-2000. We the People say: Let the People Vote on Marriage. Paid for by VoteOnMarriage.org

Spot C
Last July, Beacon Hill legislators didn't inspire much confidence in the voters. They recessed a vote on the Marriage Amendment again, refusing to send it to be voted on by the people, even though 170,000 citizens signed petitions so voters could decide on the definition of marriage. Then they ran in circles over the Big Dig disaster. And during the budget debate, again refused to reduce the income tax rate to 5% -- as the people voted. Is the legislature out of touch, or do they just think they're untouchable? We the People need to hold Beacon Hill accountable on the marriage amendment and let them know they answer to us. On November 9, lawmakers will vote on whether the People or the Courts should decide the definition of marriage. We the People say: Let the People Vote on Marriage. Call your state senator and representative today at (617) 722-2000. Tell them to let the people vote on marriage. Paid for by VoteOnMarriage.org

# # #


For Release: October 18, 2006 - 11 AM
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719


VoteOnMarriage.org Delivers Rubber Ducks to 100 Legislators
"Duck and Run" Awards to those who voted to delay the marriage amendment vote


Boston, MA - Today, supporters of the right to vote on marriage delivered rubber ducks to the 100 legislators who voted to "duck and run" from public accountability last July 12 by voting to recess the Constitutional Convention without taking a vote on the people's amendment on marriage. The "Duck and Run" Awards chide those elected officials for "ducking" the marriage amendment vote until after Election Day in November.

"Too many members of the legislature have misplaced priorities and continue to demonstrate a lack of accountability to those who elect them," said Kris Mineau, spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org and president, Massachusetts Family Institute.

"More than 170,000 of us took the Massachusetts Constitution to heart and petitioned to vote on marriage, but our elected officials ducked and ran on an issue that obviously matters to the citizens of Massachusetts," said Elizabeth Harmer Dionne of Cambridge, Massachusetts, a citizen supporter of the marriage amendment. "We're here today to say that we expect a full and fair vote on the marriage amendment on November 9.

The "Duck and Run" Award is a reminder to legislators that they can run but they can't hide from the people they are elected to represent. It is a humorous way of sending very serious message that strikes at the core of what citizens expect from their elected officials: results, respect and a voice in the government that each of us supports.

A vote on the marriage amendment is expected when the Constitutional Convention reconvenes on November 9.

VoteOnMarriage.org draws a distinction between the 100 legislators who voted "not to vote" on the marriage amendment on July 12 and those who did not-demonstrating their intent to be accountable on the issue.


# # #


September 29, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

Statement by Kris Mineau, president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org relative to the decision of Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Thomas Connolly to allow same sex couples in Rhode Island to marry in Massachusetts


Once again, the citizens are the victims of having marriage redefined by a court instead of by the people.

This creates a new level of legal chaos for regulators and lawmakers in the state of Rhode Island and any state that does not expressly forbid same sex marriage. It also furthers the notion of Massachusetts becoming the Las Vegas of gay marriage.

The citizens of Rhode Island will have to rise up like the people of Massachusetts did with 170,000 citizens signing the petition to bring the matter of marriage to a citizen referendum.

Democracy must work for all citizens-not just activists who use the courts as their instrument to invent rights citizens.

# # #


 

September 20, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

VoteOnMarriage.org Statement on Primary Elections

Newton Upper Falls - VoteOnMarriage.org - the campaign to allow the voters to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - made the following statement relative to yesterday's statewide primary elections.

"As a ballot-question committee, VoteOnMarriage.org is precluded by law from participating in or influencing elections. VoteOnMarriage.org did not take official positions on candidates; neither did VoteOnMarriage.org participate in individual campaigns or the efforts of any political party to influence yesterday's outcomes.

While there has been a shift in several legislative seats, the overall results of the primary give us confidence that that we will maintain the necessary legislative support for the marriage amendment during the 2007 Constitutional Convention. Under the current legislature, VoteOnMarriage.org believes we have the necessary votes to allow the amendment to move forward.

VoteOnMarriage.org urges the legislature, and Senate President Travaglini in particular, to uphold its constitutional duty and demonstrate public accountability by voting on the people's amendment on marriage on November 9, 2006."

# # #


 

July 19, 2006
A Personal Message from Kris Mineau

Marriage Amendment vote on track for Nov. 9

Though the Legislature ducked the issue of same-sex marriage last week-voting to recess until after the November elections-the issue is far from dead and the Marriage Amendment is alive and well. The House and Senate will meet again on Nov. 9 to debate the people's amendment in another Constitutional Convention. There is much work to be done in the next 4 months, and VoteOnMarriage.org will be leading the way.

As Chanel Prunier, Campaign Director for VoteOnMarriage.org, said, "While we had hoped to have a vote on the people's amendment last week, we are ready to use the next four months to bolster the number of legislators committed to letting the people vote on marriage. The grassroots participation leading up to the Constitutional Convention was tremendous, and we need to keep it going right up until Nov. 9."

Senate President Robert Travaglini has promised a vote on the Amendment, so we have every reason to believe that that vote will take place on Nov. 9. Furthermore, the vote to recess until after Election Day was much closer than anyone expected. Ninety-one legislators voted to continue to debate and allow the Marriage Amendment to come up for a vote. This is encouraging, even if some of those legislators will eventually vote against the Marriage Amendment.

We have more than enough votes to pass the Amendment before the end of this legislative session on Dec. 31. The current incumbents are the ones who will vote on Nov. 9 - their term does not end until Dec. 31, as is the case with Gov. Mitt Romney. We cannot forget that he is ready and willing to enforce the constitution should the Legislature shirk their responsibility.

We are going to continue to walk the halls of the State House to make sure that the people get the chance to vote on marriage. The voters of this state-especially the 170,000 that signed the marriage petition last fall-have had enough of the Legislative two-step on the marriage issue, and are looking forward to their legislators following the constitution and voting on Nov. 9.

If you have not already done so, sign up as a member of VoteOnMarriage.org by CLICKING HERE. VoteOnMarriage.org will keep you well-informed in the latest news about the campaign to let the people vote on the definition of marriage. If you have any questions about the effort, feel free to call VoteOnMarriage.org at 617-795-2667.

Finally, I want to thank you for your steadfast support in the fight for marriage. Let us be encouraged that victory is clearly attainable on November 9!

For our families,

Kris Mineau


 

July 12, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719


Legislature Stalls Vote on the People's Amendment on Marriage Until November

Newton Upper Falls - VoteOnMarriage.org - the campaign to allow the voters to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - in commenting on today's Constitutional Convention expressed grave doubt that this legislature will ever take up the People's Amendment on Marriage for a vote - a clear violation of the state Constitution.

In a second move in as many months, Senate President Robert Travaglini recessed the Constitutional Convention without taking up the Protection of Marriage Amendment. The Convention is now set to resume on November 9, after state elections, a clear political attempt to insulate incumbent legislators at the polls this November from recording their vote on marriage and for all practicality kill the people's amendment on marriage.

If no action is taken on the amendment by December 31 of this year, the legislature will be in violation of Article 48 of the state constitution, which requires a vote by the joint session of the House and Senate on qualified initiative petitions. It also violates the citizens' right to be heard, thousands of whom came to rally at the State House today, on the marriage issue.

"This move shows the flagrant disregard for the will of the people by Senate President Travaglini and every legislator who voted to recess the convention until November," said Kris Mineau, president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org.

This is especially troubling in light of the fact that nearly three-quarters of lawmakers voted against recessing the convention until Monday "recognizing that today's time was running short" but instead chose to recess until after the election cycle. A vote to recess is tantamount to a vote to kill the amendment.

If allowed to go to the floor for a full and fair vote, VoteOnMarriage.org, as well as our opponents, is confident that there was sufficient support to pass the amendment.

In another move to silence the voice of the people, the convention today voted to send to committee - a veritable political graveyard - a citizen-initiative petition on health care.

As articulated in a floor speech by Rep. Marie Parente (D)-Milford, today's actions are tantamount to justice denied and democracy denied for the citizens of Massachusetts.

"The legislative leadership today has made the birthplace of American democracy its new graveyard," Mineau concluded.

# # #


July 10, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact:
Melanie Hayden (617) 928-0800
Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

Statement by Kris Mineau, VoteOnMarriage.org in Response to
Supreme Judicial Court Decision on Schulman v. Reilly

"As we have said all along, VoteOnMarriage.org had complete confidence in the integrity and constitutionality of the amendment. Our counsel knew it, as did the Attorney General's office. The SJC finally made the right call when it comes to allowing the people have a voice in our democracy.

"The SJC found, as did both the Attorney General's Office and our counsel from the Alliance Defense Fund, that the amendment was not about undoing a previous ruling as the plaintiffs suggested, but allowing the people to control their own constitution and destiny. We appreciate the SJC upholding their constitutional duty and ruling on this case in a timely manner.

"We are also pleased that the Schulman case is no longer an impediment to Senate President Travaglini and other legislators from doing their constitutional duty this Wednesday and voting on the people's marriage amendment."

# # #


Remarks by Cardinal Sean O'Malley
Archdiocese of Boston
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Press Conference

In February of 2004, religious leaders in Massachusetts signed a statement supporting the proposed constitutional amendment to safeguard the traditional definition of marriage. Among the signers were leaders of the four Roman Catholic dioceses, the Black Ministerial Alliance, Orthodox Churches, various Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist and Episcopalian communities, Jewish congregations, the Islamic Council of New England and Vision New England Churches. The signers of the statement represent over 3,000 congregations in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

This is neither a Catholic nor a sectarian issue, it is a human issue. For thousands of years the institution of marriage, geared toward the rearing of children, has been the cornerstone of human society. Where marriage is weakened, the social cost is enormous. We have a duty to pass on a strong institution of marriage for the good of future generations. To redefine marriage as merely an arrangement among adults undermines the family and will have serious consequence in the future.

Marriage is by its very nature oriented toward having children and raising them in a family. The complementary characteristics of a mother and a father contribute so much to the development of healthy and well-adjusted children. Many families without the advantage of a stable loving union of husband and wife, such as single parents and grandparents raising children, do an admirable job. Yet most people are quick to recognize that the optimal venue for children is to be born and raised in a family where the father and mother are in a permanent, loving commitment. This reality deserves to be protected by the State.

Last fall a petition drive for the constitutional amendment obtained 170,000 signatures - the highest number of signatures in the history of initiative petitions. We are asking the legislature to allow the citizens of our state to vote on this crucial institution.

Regrettably, this is a very divisive issue. So much polarization has been precipitated by the Supreme Judicial Court, which by one vote has threatened the oldest and most foundational of human institutions. We urge the legislature to let everyone's voice be heard. Let the people vote.


Remarks by Dr. Roberto Miranda
Chairman, VoteOnMarriage.org
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Press Conference

Good morning.

The last time I came to the State House for a press conference, our organization, VoteOnMarriage.org, was facing the daunting challenge of collecting 66,000 certified signatures in order to place on the 2008 ballot a constitutional amendment to define marriage solely as the union of one man and one woman.

As is well known by now, not only did we meet that challenge, but we came close to tripling the number of required signatures, the most successful citizen petition in Massachusetts history. We are grateful for such an encouraging outcome. It is obvious that the people of Massachusetts are far from settled in favor of gay marriage. We happen to think that, given the chance in 2008, they will come out convincingly in favor of marriage as it has been defined for millenia by all cultures, races and religions-the loving, complementary union of one man and one woman.

Given the overwhelming success of our signature drive, at this moment we should be enjoying some well deserved rest, confident that the legislators of this state would heed the message of so many citizens and allow the voters their basic democratic right to express themselves in the voting booth in 2008. After all, this is not some mundane issue that is being decided, but one that has serious implications for many areas of the life of our Commonwealth and, ultimately, our nation.

Instead, we find ourselves here, uncertain and insecure, unsure of what course our legislators, sworn to represent us, will take on this most serious of matters. Unelected judges have conjured up their own interpretation of marriage and family. This amendment is the only way the people of Massachusetts can determine for themselves how the society they live in and contribute to should define marriage. If, as advocates of gay marriage so confidently assert, the people of Massachusetts have made their decision in favor of gay marriage and moved on; if, as is so often repeated, our movement represents only a minority of fundamentalist, bigoted individuals out of touch with the feelings of most voters in Massachusetts, I do not see why our opponents are so afraid of allowing the democratic process to run its course and have their claims proven in the most eloquent way possible-through the results of a referendum on the matter.

Of course, we know that this is simply part of the doublespeak that until now has characterized the efforts of gay marriage activists. On one hand, they publicly and confidently claim to have the solid support of the majority of Massachusetts voters, and on the other, they do everything in their power to repress the only process that will convincingly back up their questionable claim.

I ask our legislators this morning, Will you do the only right thing and play this game legitimately? Our Constitution has provided citizens the recourse of a citizen petition when they are in disagreement with a decision made by the Supreme Court of the state. We have respectfully and faithfully followed the prescribed process. We have worked hard to meet the stated requirements, and believe we have earned the right to a vote on the part of citizens in 2008. We have placed our trust in the integrity and good faith of our legislators.

Do not snatch away once more from the citizens of Massachusetts our constitutional right to express our view on this matter. Allow this process to follow its natural, legitimate course. Do not succumb to any strategy except that of decency and respect for the democratic process. On July 12, submit our petition for its legitimately deserved consideration, and let the people of Massachusetts exercise their right to vote.


Remarks by Governor Mitt Romney
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Press Conference
Contact: Eric Fehrnstrom 617-725-4025 | Office of Governor Mitt Romney

Governor Mitt Romney made the following statement today regarding the Massachusetts Protection of Marriage Amendment:

"Our elected representatives in the Legislature will soon hold a historic vote. It regards the institution of marriage.

But it will not be a vote for or against same sex marriage.

No, it will be a vote for or against democracy.

The people here today have followed the law, followed the process established in the Constitution, and gathered an astounding 170,000 signatures. Their effort means that the people, the citizens, will be free to choose how marriage is defined in Massachusetts.

This is democracy pure and simple.

Of course, democracy can be squashed. Only one fourth of the legislators must vote for democracy, for this question, this choice, to be given to the people. But it is conceivable that some will try to block a vote by the people by blocking a vote of the legislature.

We here are speaking for democracy and the rule of the law. Whether you agree that marriage should be reserved for a man and a woman or not, surely you can agree that the course of democracy, established by the Constitution, must be followed. Is there anything more fundamental to this Commonwealth and this country than the principle that power is reserved to the people, that government is the servant, not the master?

We ask for one thing: the constitutionally prescribed vote of the Legislature. Let the people speak."


June 28, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact:
Lisa Barstow 617-480-1719 | VoteOnMarriage.org
Eric Fehrnstrom 617-725-4025 | Office of Governor Mitt Romney


Gov. Romney Joins Civic and Religious Leaders to
Urge Passage of Protection of Marriage Amendment
Allowing citizens the right to define marriage in Massachusetts

Boston - Appearing today with a broad array of religious, civic and political leaders, Governor Mitt Romney urged the Legislature and its leaders to bring the Amendment to a "fair vote" during the Constitutional Convention on July 12.

"It is the constitutional duty of every legislator to give the Protection of Marriage Amendment an up or down vote during this legislative session," said Governor Romney. "The people have a right to decide this issue, but they can only do so if the Legislature does its job."

Standing today with Governor Romney in support of the Protection of Marriage Amendment, which would allow the voters of the Commonwealth to determine the definition of marriage in Massachusetts, were Seán Cardinal O'Malley, OFM Cap, Archdiocese of Boston; Bishop George Coleman, Diocese of Fall River; Bishop Robert McManus, Diocese of Worcester; Dr. Roberto Miranda, Chairman, VoteOnMarriage.org; Kris Mineau, President, Massachusetts Family Institute; a bi-partisan group of state legislators and other Amendment supporters from government and the private sector.

Cardinal Seán O'Malley said, "Marriage is the foundation of family life in our society. People of many faiths and from many walks of life have joined us to support marriage as being only the union between one man and one woman. The debate over the meaning of marriage should not be limited to government officials. The magnitude of the issue calls for full participation by the citizens of the Commonwealth. We urge our legislators to let the people exercise their right to vote."

"Governor Romney has said all along that the people's voice matters, and today he has demonstrated that leadership again by focusing public attention on those in the state legislature who are strategizing to deny Massachusetts citizens the right to vote on marriage," said Kris Mineau, President, Massachusetts Family Institute and Spokesman for VoteOnMarriage.org.

According to media reports, legislative opponents of the Amendment are considering a variety of parliamentary procedures to avoid a clear yes or no vote on the Amendment-constitutionally known as "final action" by the legislature and a requirement for all citizen-initiated petitions, such as the Protection of Marriage Amendment.

"We know that the absence of fathers in our neighborhoods contributes to the culture of violence," said Rev. Alexander Hurt, Kingdom Church-Brockton. "The marriage amendment says to our community, 'both mothers and fathers matter' in the development of healthy families and healthy communities."

"Unelected judges have conjured up their own interpretation of marriage and family," said Rev. Roberto Miranda, Chairman, VoteOnMarriage.org. "This amendment is the only way the people of Massachusetts can determine for themselves how the society they live in and contribute to should define marriage."

VoteOnMarriage.org - the campaign to allow voters to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - collected over 170,000 petition signatures last fall in support of the Protection of Marriage Amendment. The Secretary of the Commonwealth certified the petitions last December, moving the Amendment to the state legislature where it requires the vote of 50 lawmakers this year and next year before going to the voters in 2008. Governor Romney supports the Protection of Marriage Amendment and the people's right to define marriage and family for themselves.

# # #


June 19, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

Newspaper Ads Say, "Iraqis Have the Right to Vote…What About Us?"
Urge Citizens to Contact Legislators to Support the Marriage Amendment

Newton Upper Falls, MA - VoteOnMarriage.org the campaign to allow voters to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - today announced the launch of a newspaper advertising campaign running in daily and weekly newspapers in various markets across Massachusetts.

Complementing the successful radio ads currently airing on news/talk stations statewide, the print ads feature an Iraqi woman, raising her ink-stained finger, under the headline: "Iraqis Have the Right to Vote…What About Us?"

This thought-provoking ad questions whether Iraq's new democracy is perhaps more inclusive that ours in Massachusetts - as Beacon Hill lawmakers plot to kill the Protection of Marriage Amendment, which would allow the citizens to vote on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts.

"Citizens are demanding the right to be heard on the marriage issue while Beacon Hill legislators are working strategy to use parliamentary procedures and back-door politics to run from a vote," said Kris Mineau, president of Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman for VoteOnMarriage.org.

Over 170,000 citizens across the state signed petitions last fall for the right to vote on marriage-the largest number of petition signatures collected in state history. The Protection of Marriage Amendment goes before a joint session of the state legislature on July 12, where 50 votes are needed this year and next year before it goes before the voters in 2008.

The ad calls on the citizens of Massachusetts to contact their legislators to support the Protection of Marriage Amendment during the July 12 Constitutional Convention - no stalling, no tricks.

A sample of the ads is available at www.voteonmarriage.org.

# # #


June 12, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719


Radio Campaign Urges Citizens to Contact Legislators and
Secure their Right to Vote on Marriage
Airing on news/talk stations statewide


Newton Upper Falls, MA - VoteOnMarriage.org the campaign to allow voters to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - today announced the launch of a radio advertising campaign beginning June 12 on news and talk stations statewide.

The spots inform citizens that some Beacon Hill lawmakers want to kill the Protection of Marriage Amendment, and therefore the people's right to vote on the definition of marriage, when for a legislative vote on July 12.

"We know that 75% of Massachusetts voters believe they, not the courts, should decide on marriage," said Kris Mineau, president of Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman for VoteOnMarriage.org. "But some lawmakers think they know better than the vast majority of the voters they represent, and are threatening to block a vote using parliamentary procedures which amount to nothing more than dirty politics."

Over 170,000 citizens across the state signed petitions last fall for the right to vote on marriage-the largest number of petition signatures collected in state history. The Protection of Marriage Amendment is now before Beacon Hill where 50 votes are needed this year and next year. If successful, the Amendment will go before the voters in 2008.

The radio campaign calls on the citizens of Massachusetts contact their legislators to support the Protection of Marriage Amendment during the July 12 Constitutional Convention.

A sample of the ads is available at www.voteonmarriage.org.

In addition to the radio campaign, a newspaper campaign is planned for launch later this month.

# # #


May 9, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

Marriage Vote in Legislature Delayed Until July
Poll Shows 75% of Registered Voters Want to Vote On Marriage

Newton Upper Falls, MA - Senate President Robert Travaglini officially postponed Wednesday's Constitutional Convention until July. Among other business was taking up the Protection of Marriage Amendment, which would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman in the state constitution if approved by 25% of the Legislature during 2006 and 2007 and by the voters in November 2008.

VoteOnMarriage.org - the campaign to allow voters to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - is confident that Senate President Travaglini will give the Amendment a full and fair hearing when the Convention reconvenes.

As lawmakers await this debate in the legislature, a new poll commissioned by VoteOnMarriage.org and conducted by State House Service shows that 75 percent of registered voters believe the voters, not the courts, should decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts.

The telephone poll, conducted between May 3 and 4, asked 400 registered Massachusetts voters, "In your opinion, who should decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - the Voters or the Courts?" Only 18.6% of respondents believed the courts should decide. The remaining 6.4 percent of respondents said they did not know, refused to answer or responded "other."

"Until and unless the people of Massachusetts have their say on marriage, this issue will not go away," said Kris Mineau, president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org.

VoteOnMarriage.org calls on all citizens to continue to contact their state senators and representatives, and urge them to support the people's right to vote.

# # #



May 5, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

Marriage Amendment Legislative Vote will be Delayed
New Poll Shows 75% of Registered Voters Want to Vote On Marriage

Newton Upper Falls, MA - VoteOnMarriage.org - the campaign to allow voters to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - has learned that Senate President Travaglini will not bring the Protection of Marriage Amendment forward during the May 10 Constitutional Convention. However, campaign officials are confident it will be taken up when the Convention reconvenes at a later date.

The news comes on the heels of a new poll, commissioned by VoteOnMarriage.org and conducted by State House Service, showing 75 percent of registered voters believe the voters, not the courts, should decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts.

The telephone poll, conducted between May 3 and 4, asked 400 registered Massachusetts voters, "In your opinion, who should decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - the Voters or the Courts?" Only 18.6% of respondents believed the courts should decide. The remaining 6.4 percent of respondents said they did not know, refused to answer or responded "other."

"The poll confirms what we all know to be true: the people want to vote, and the legislature must be responsive to the people," said Kris Mineau, president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org.

"We're confident that when the Convention reconvenes, the constitutional process will go forward and the people's amendment, which received record-breaking support, will have a full, fair hearing and a vote by the legislature," Mineau added.

Some news reports indicate there may be a delay of the marriage vote pending the outcome of Schulman v. Reilly, a case before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court which challenges the constitutionality of the Amendment. Assistant Attorney General Peter Sacks argued before the SJC yesterday on behalf of Attorney General Thomas Reilly that the Amendment does not reverse the November 2003 Goodridge decision but lawfully allows the citizens to amend the constitution.

The Protection of Marriage Amendment requires the approval of 50 legislators during the 2006 and 2007 Constitutional Conventions. If successful, it goes to the ballot in November 2008.

"The Attorney General's office carefully reviewed the people's amendment last fall and found it to be constitutional. We believe the Schulman case will fail as a desperate attempt by our opponents to prevent the people from having a fair up or down vote on marriage," said Mineau.

In the meantime, VoteOnMarriage.org is calling on all citizens to continue to contact their state senators and representatives, urging them to support the people's right to vote.

"This delay affords citizens more time to contact their legislators and make their voices heard so that democracy means something in Massachusetts," Mineau concluded.

# # #


May 5, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719


VoteOnMarriage.org Abhors Anti-Homosexual Group's Tactics;
Says they Don't Speak for Us

Newton Upper Falls - VoteOnMarriage.org - the campaign to allow the voters to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - has learned that representatives of the so called Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas will be in Massachusetts over the coming days carrying out protests against same sex marriage.

VoteOnMarriage.org and its coalition of supporting organizations abhor the tactics of this group and underscore with emphasis that they do not speak for us or the good people of Massachusetts who, in a spirit of tolerance and respect for all people, simply wish for the citizens to have a vote on the matter of marriage.


# # #


January 26, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

VoteonMarriage.org Cites MassEquality with Identity Theft and Fraud;
Challenges False Allegations

Newton Upper Falls, MA - VoteOnMarriage.org - the campaign to allow voters to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - today challenged in the most forceful terms the campaign of lies and deception by MassEquality-an organization that in fact is aiding in identity theft and fraud.

Earlier this month, VoteOnMarriage.org called on Secretary of State Galvin and Attorney General Reilly to prosecute Ms. Angela McElroy, a paid circulator who claimed before a State House committee chaired by State Senator Augustus that she committed signature fraud. VoteOnMarriage.org has clearly stated we will not tolerate fraud. VoteOnMarriag.org is asking state officials why, if her claims are true, hasn't the supposedly fraudulent petition circulator Ms. McElroy been prosecuted, as we have formally requested?

In fact, not one formal challenge of fraud against VoteOnMarriage.org was filed with the Secretary of State's office during the open process, which is now over.

In the same communication, VoteOnMarriage.org raised grave concerns to Secretary Galvin and Attorney General Reilly about the legitimacy of petition complaint reporting processes established by the anti-vote organizations KnowThyNeighbor.org and MassEquality.org-whose online databases list the names of marriage petition signors.

The online complaint process these groups have created actually invites fraud as the systems fail to authenticate the identity of the citizen filing. For example, anyone can select a random name from the database, pose as a disgruntled marriage petition signer and lodge a fallacious complaint of fraud-in essence stealing a legitimate signer's identity and making false statements as that person.

According to individuals who have contacted VoteOnMarriage.org, this is occurring.

"One gentleman received an email from MassEquality thanking him for letting his legislator know about fraud, and later received an email of thanks from State Senator Augustus for making him aware that he was a victim of fraud. In fact, the gentleman in question was an intentional signer of the petition whose identity was stolen online to send fraudulent messages in his name," said Kris Mineau, spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org and president, Massachusetts Family Institute.

In addition, VoteOnMarriage.org has received a significant number of contacts from petition signers who themselves have received harassing and intimidating phone calls, as well as mailings, from MassEquality. As has been cited in media reports, these citizens have been frightened that their identities have been stolen and believe the calls and letters are intended to harass and intimidate them - a clear civil rights violation.

"This is a red herring," Mineau added. "The deadline for filing complaints with the Elections Division came and went weeks ago and no formal challenges were filed. MassEquality's long charade of false allegations is fiction."

# # #



January 11, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719


Lawmakers File Benefits Fairness Act
Ensuring new rights, benefits and protections for adults ineligible for marriage


Newton Upper Falls, MA - VoteOnMarriage.org - the campaign to allow voters to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - today announced, along with a bi-partisan group of state legislators, the filing of the Benefits Fairness Act.

The Benefits Fairness Act would ensure that citizens in the Commonwealth who are ineligible for marriage are afforded necessary rights, protections, and benefits not currently provided for under Massachusetts law.

Specifically the Act entitles two Massachusetts adults who are ineligible for marriage to enter into a legal arrangement which provides for reciprocal hospital visitation, health care proxy designation, after-death decisions, inheritance and estate designation, and mental health decisions. The legislation also enables employers to include this new designation in their life, health and other benefits programs.

The State of Hawaii successfully enacted similar legislation in 1997, also known as reciprocal beneficiary legislation.

"This Act offers Massachusetts citizens a practical and cost-effective way of securing legitimate and necessary rights, responsibilities and benefits based on need, not on sexual preference," said Rep. Philip Travis (D)-Rehoboth, the Act's key sponsor.

The Act is strongly endorsed by VoteOnMarriage.org and the allied organizations that seek to define marriage in Massachusetts as the exclusive union of one man and one woman.

"Do we have compassion for the needs of people? Absolutely! However the natural marriage relationship as it has been defined for millennia is fundamental, distinct and unique," said Kris Mineau, spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org and president, Massachusetts Family Institute.

"Our goal is to protect the rights of all people: children to a mom and a dad; adults ineligible for marriage to appropriate benefits and protections and the citizens to a right to vote," Mineau concluded.

VoteOnMarriage.org will work with state legislators and its grassroots network to urge passage of the Act.

# # #

Click Here to view Key Provisions of the Benefits Fairness Act


January 9, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719 or Melanie Hayden (617) 928-0800

VoteOnMarriage.org Seeks Investigation of Anti-Vote Websites
and Prosecution of Paid Circulator
No Formal Challenges Filed by Signature Opponents

Newton Upper Falls, MA - VoteOnMarriage.org - the campaign to allow voters to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - today issued a letter to Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin with a copy to Attorney General Thomas Reilly regarding complaints and practices related to the campaigns for and against the marriage-vote effort.

The letter details that VoteOnMarriage.org sought to comply fully with all applicable laws during the signature gathering process and had been found in full compliance by the Attorney General. However, the only case of fraud of which VoteOneMarriage.org is aware - the admission before a legislative committee and to the media by paid circulator Angela McElroy that she misrepresented the marriage petition in potentially 269 cases - has yet to be investigated by authorities.

VoteOnMarriage.org calls on the proper authorities to prosecute this and any other circulator who intentionally misrepresented the petition. [Of note, VoteOnMarriage.org's sub-contracted agent dismissed Ms. McElroy from her employment, with cause, prior to her public admission.] VoteOnMarriage.org pledges to cooperate fully in any investigation and welcomes the opportunity to bring to justice anyone who has violated the law.

The letter also raises grave concerns about the legitimacy of petition complaint reporting processes established by the anti-vote organizations KnowThyNeighbor.org and MassEquality.org. Both organizations offer searchable, online databases listing the names of marriage petition signers. Each website invites citizens to search their database and make a complaint to their office and/or to the offices of Secretary Galvin, Attorney General Reilly and state legislators if their name was listed but they did not wish to sign the petition.

While VoteOnMarriage.org respects the First Amendment rights of these organizations, their online complaint process itself invites fraud in that it fails to authenticate the identity of the citizens filing complaints. Any person may pose as a disgruntled marriage petition signer, in essence stealing a legitimate signer's identity, and lodge a fallacious complaint of fraud.

In addition, VoteOnMarriage.org has received a significant number of contacts from petition signers who themselves have received harassing and intimidating live and automated phone calls, as well as mailings, from MassEquality. As has been cited in media reports, these citizens have been frightened that their identities have been stolen and believe the calls and letters are intended to harass and intimidate them - a clear civil rights violation.

"We have no objection to efforts to expose as-of-yet unknown instances of alleged fraud, however, we do object to the manner in which they are carrying out their anti-vote campaign," said Kris Mineau, spokesman VoteOnMarriage.org and president, Massachusetts Family Institute.

VoteOnMarriage.org calls on Secretary Galvin and Attorney General Reilly to take appropriate action to protect petition signers from online, telephone and direct mail threats against their civil liberties, personal safety and security.

The deadline period for filing complaints with the Election's Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office related to the petition process was January 6. No formal challenges to the VoteOnMarriage.org signature-gathering effort were filed

# # #


December 20, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719 or Melanie Hayden (617) 928-0800

Secretary of State Confirms Marriage Amendment Petition Drive
Broke all Records for Signatures Gathered and Certified
123,356 Signatures Certified – Amendment Going to Legislature in January

Newton, MA - VoteOnMarriage.org – the campaign to allow voters to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts – announced today that the Elections Division of the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth has certified 123,356 marriage petition signatures – the most ever in Commonwealth history – far exceeding the 65,825 certified signatures required to move the amendment to the state legislature.

“Considering that 170,000 signatures were collected mainly by volunteers in virtually all 351 cities and towns over a brief 60-day period, what the citizens of Massachusetts have done is nothing short of monumental,” said Kris Mineau president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org.

The petition seeks to amend the state constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman relative to marriages recognized by the state after the adoption of the amendment. It requires the vote of 50 legislators in 2006 and 2007 before it appears on the 2008 ballot.

Forty four states have either constitutional amendments or legislation defining marriage as one man and one woman. Nineteen states have passed marriage amendments, with an average voter approval of 70%.

Through this historic effort, Massachusetts citizens have clearly spoken that the definition of marriage remains a major issue in the Commonwealth.

“Massachusetts citizens demand the same opportunity to vote on marriage as their fellow Americans and will insist upon having their day at the ballot box,” Mr. Mineau concluded.

The measure is expected to receive a legislative vote during the May 2006 state Constitutional Convention.

# # #


December 7, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719

170,000 Marriage Amendment Signatures Collected
Unprecedented Response Sends Strong Message to Legislature - Let the People Vote!


Boston, MA - VoteOnMarriage.org announced today the completion of the most successful ballot initiative campaign in Massachusetts history with the collection of 170,000 signatures. This overwhelming citizen response sends a resounding message to the lawmakers and activists who want to silence the voice of the people and deny them a vote on marriage.

Delivering the last of the petitions to the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, Kris Mineau, president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org, said regarding the importance of voting on marriage, "The numbers speak for themselves: this has been a grassroots, bottom-up effort by concerned, energized, and determined citizens who proved they will not sit idly by and lose their democracy."

Signatures were collected in virtually every city and town in the state. Over 130,000 of the signatures gathered can be attributed to the work of thousands of volunteers and the leadership provided by over 1,200 diverse communities of faith and other organizations all across Massachusetts.

VoteOnMarriage.org thanks every citizen who signed the petition and offers special thanks to our campaign manager Rob Willington, volunteer leaders, county coordinators and the dozens of local and statewide supporting organizations who worked tirelessly throughout this 60-day marathon. Special recognition goes to the leadership and membership of Catholic Citizenship, a lay Catholic grassroots organization, for their partnership with Catholic parishes statewide.

"The redefinition of marriage has energized faithful Catholics to become politically active in profound ways and in record numbers," said Larry Cirignano, executive director, Catholic Citizenship.

After Secretary Galvin certifies the required 65,825 signatures, the new amendment must then receive 50 votes in two successive legislatures before being placed on the ballot in the fall of 2008.

"The people have not just spoken, they have shouted, 'Let the People Vote,'" Mineau concluded.

# # #


November 22, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719


VoteOnMarriage.org Exceeds Goal - Collecting Over 120,000 Signatures
Deadline to deliver marriage petitions to MA cities and towns is November 23

Newton Upper Falls, MA - VoteOnMarriage.org - the campaign to allow voters to decide on the definition of marriage in Massachusetts - is pleased to report that we have already met our goal to collect 120,000 signatures, and petitions continue to pour in to meet tomorrow's deadline of 5 p.m.

"I credit this phenomenal effort to thousands of citizen volunteers and over 1,200 communities of faith - including Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim - who have worked tirelessly to give every citizen in the Commonwealth a voice in how marriage is defined in Massachusetts," said Kris Mineau, president, Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman, VoteOnMarriage.org.

Presently, 19 states have passed constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Dozens more have "Defense of Marriage" laws that preclude their states from recognizing same sex marriages and/or civil unions performed in other states. Federally, the Defense of Marriage Law, passed by President Clinton, precludes the federal government from recognizing same sex marriages.

Having collected nearly double the necessary 65,825 signatures, VoteOnMarriage.org is highly confident that well over the required number of signatures will be certified by the Secretary of State. Massachusetts is known as having some of the nation's most stringent requirements when it comes to citizen petitions. The stray mark of a pen, a coffee stain or a minor misspelling can eliminate an entire sheet of signatures from consideration.

"What the citizens of Massachusetts have done is roll up their sleeves and assume their legal rights as citizens to have a voice in government," Mineau added.

Presently, cities and towns are processing petitions and will continue to do so through December 5. On December 7, the final number of petitions will be tallied and will be brought to the office of the Secretary of State who has the responsibility of certification. With 65,825 certified signatures, the petition then must be approved by 25% of the legislature, or 50 members, in two successive sessions before it goes to the ballot in 2008. A simple majority of citizens voting in support of the referendum will make it an amendment to the state constitution.

The next question is whether House Speaker DiMasi, who has gone on record saying that lawmakers must make sure that the issue of same-sex marriage "never, ever appears as a question on the ballot," and others in the legislature will take away the rights of Massachusetts citizens to vote on marriage.

"Citizens must insist that their elected representatives act honestly and ethically and allow this vote to occur. Then and only then will the matter of marriage be settled in Massachusetts," Mineau concluded.

# # #


September 7, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719 or Melanie Hayden (617) 928-0800


Attorney General Certifies Language of Citizen Initiative Petition to
Amend the State Constitution on the Definition of Marriage
VoteOnMarriage.org mobilizes for statewide signature collection

Newton Upper Falls - The Coalition for Marriage and Family today announced that Attorney General Tom Reilly certified the language of a proposed citizen initiative petition to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. It is a critical step in the process to allow the citizens of the Commonwealth the opportunity to weigh in on the definition of marriage.

The approved language reads: "When recognizing marriages entered into after the adoption of this amendment by the people, the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall define marriage only as the union of one man and one woman."

The measure - if adopted by 25% of the legislature and a simple majority of the citizens voting in the 2008 state-wide election - would impact who can marry in Massachusetts from a prospective basis.

"It is our intention to allow the citizens of Massachusetts the same rights as the citizens in 43 other states who have either amended their constitutions or codified in law what constitutes a marriage in their states," said Kris Mineau, spokesman, Coalition for Marriage and Family and president, Massachusetts Family Institute.

With the text of the amendment certified, the signature gathering effort commences. VoteOnMarriage.org, a grassroots organization managing the ballot initiative process, will oversee the signature gathering campaign, which begins September 21 and ends November 23.

"We have a large, state-wide network of volunteers who are activated, trained and ready for the task," said Rob Willington, executive director, VoteOnMarriage.org.

Massachusetts has one of the nation's most stringent processes for signature collection. VoteOnMarriage.org is taking care to assure that all signatures are gathered according to the law.

"Our process respects the rights of all citizens to participate fully in our democracy, free from intimidation," Willington added.

For more information on the effort or to volunteer in your community, visit VoteOnMarriage.org or call (617) 795-2667.

# # #


August 2, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719 or Melanie Hayden (617) 928-0800

Coalition for Marriage and Family Delivers
Marriage Protection Citizen Initiative Petition to the
Attorney General

Newton Upper Falls, MA – In its first step to bring before the citizens of Massachusetts a referendum on the matter of gay marriage, the Coalition for Marriage and Family delivered to Attorney General Tom Reilly the initial petition.

Among the signatories were former Boston mayor and U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Ray Flynn.

“I have always supported the citizens’ right to be heard on important public policy issues,” Ambassador Flynn said. He added, “It’s unfortunate that unelected judges and politicians have disregarded the will of the people.”

In June, a ballot question committee, VoteOnMarriage.org, was unveiled to administer the signature drive that would place on the 2008 ballot a referendum question to allow citizens a clear up or down vote on marriage.

The text of the petition reads: “When recognizing marriages entered into after the adoption of this amendment by the people, the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall define marriage only as the union of one man and one woman.”

Signatures from 65,825 residents of the Commonwealth and the support of 25% of the legislature are needed to place the petition on the ballot. To succeed at the ballot box in 2008, a simple majority of voters must approve it.

“With the tremendous outpouring of support we have received since announcing the petition drive in June, I’m confident the people are with us, and we will easily secure the needed signatures to give the citizens back their voice in government,” said Kris Mineau.

# # #


June 16, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Barstow (617) 480-1719 or Melanie Hayden (617) 928-0800

Coalition for Marriage and Family Announces
Opposition to Travaglini-Lees Amendment and
Launches VoteOnMarriage.org - a Citizens Initiative Petition Drive to
Allow Massachusetts Citizens to Define Marriage

Boston - Citing it as a flawed amendment, the Coalition for Marriage and Family today announced it will actively oppose the current constitutional amendment [known as the Travaglini-Lees Amendment] before the state legislature that both defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman as it simultaneously writes same sex civil unions into the state constitution.

"For the past four years, the citizens of Massachusetts have taken aggressive action to codify the definition of marriage and the legislature has continually impeded that process," said Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute and spokesman for the Coalition for Marriage and Family - an alliance of 20 state and national groups standing for traditional marriage in Massachusetts.

In 2002, then Senate President Tom Birmingham, in violation of the state constitution, refused to take up the matter in a Constitutional Convention despite the fact that the lawful number of signatures was collected by the citizens of the Commonwealth to bring the matter before the convention.

Last year, in response to a tremendous outpouring from citizens across the Commonwealth who wanted the opportunity to vote on the issue of marriage, Representative Phil Travis (D) Rehoboth, successfully brought the Marriage Affirmation and Protection Amendment before a Constitutional Convention. But once again the will of the people was thwarted when Senate President Robert Travaglini and Senate Minority Leader Brian Lees changed the amendment to establish Civil Unions fully equal to marriage.

"We see it as a flawed amendment because it's contradictory in terms and was designed to fail at the ballot box and in the courts," Mineau added.

At the same press conference today, a citizens' initiative petition drive, VoteOnMarriage.org, was unveiled to allow citizens a clear up or down vote on marriage. The text of the amendment reads:
"When recognizing marriages entered after the adoption of this amendment by the people, the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall define marriage as only the union of one man and one woman."

To be placed on the 2008 ballot, the amendment would need signatures from 65,825 residents of the Commonwealth and the support of 25% of the legislature. To succeed at the ballot box, a simple majority of voters must approve it.

# # #


 

June 16, 2005 Press Conference
Remarks of Kris Mineau
President, Massachusetts Family Institute
Gardner Auditorium - 10:00 a.m.


Good morning. I’m Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute speaking today on behalf of the Coalition for Marriage and Family, an alliance of 20 state and national organizations committed to preserving the definition of marriage in Massachusetts as the exclusive union of one man and one woman.

In 18 states across the country, citizens have amended their state constitutions to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Thirty-nine states now have laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. However, an activist court has redefined marriage in Massachusetts without the citizens ever having their say; the citizens of Massachusetts deserve to have their voices heard.

For the past four years, the citizens of Massachusetts have taken aggressive action to codify the definition of marriage and the legislature has continually impeded that process.

In 2002, then Senate President Tom Birmingham, in violation of the state constitution, refused to take up the matter in a Constitutional Convention despite the fact that the lawful number of signatures was collected by the citizens of the Commonwealth to bring the matter before the convention.

Last year, in response to a tremendous outpouring from citizens across the Commonwealth who wanted the opportunity to vote on the issue of marriage, Representative Phil Travis successfully brought the Marriage Affirmation and Protection Amendment before a Constitutional Convention. But once again the will of the people was thwarted when Senate President Robert Travaglini and Senate Minority Leader Brian Lees changed the amendment to establish Civil Unions fully equal to marriage. We oppose this flawed amendment.

First, the Travaglini-Lees amendment precludes a clear vote on marriage. Many citizens who oppose gay marriage, also oppose Civil Unions. Asking citizens to vote on the Travaglini-Lees amendment is like asking them to vote for George Bush and John Kerry on the same ticket.

Second, we are convinced that the Travaglini-Lees Amendment was drafted in a manner designed to fail both at the ballot box and in the courts. No less a legal luminary than Prof. Laurence Tribe at Harvard Law School, a supporter of same-sex marriage, said that the Travaglini-Lees amendment is, and I quote, "a dead sure loser from the word go."

Because of the amendment’s equal treatment of marriage and civil unions, Tribe continued, “it's ideally written to get zero votes” at the ballot box. Prof. Tribe went on to say that he believed the amendment would be struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, and I again quote Prof. Tribe: “There are things about it that make it very vulnerable under the Federal constitution.” Specifically, Prof. Tribe thinks the amendment would not survive judicial review under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Now, we rarely agree with Prof. Tribe, but we agree with him on this. The Travaglini-Lees Amendment was designed to fail, and we will not support it.

Therefore, we are here today to announce three objectives.

Our first objective is to oppose and defeat the Travaglini-Lees Amendment. We will mobilize our grassroots as we did last year, calling on legislators to vote “No” on this amendment.

Our second objective is to enable the citizens of the Commonwealth to have a clear up or down vote on the definition of marriage. We have formed a Ballot Question Committee to accomplish a citizens’ initiative petition for a constitutional amendment, in accordance with Article 48 of the Massachusetts constitution. The name of the Ballot Question Committee is VoteOnMarriage.org. The language of the amendment reads as follows:

When recognizing marriages entered after the adoption of this amendment by the people, the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall define marriage as only the union of one man and one woman.

Our third objective is to address the needs of all citizens across the Commonwealth who are in mutually-dependent adult relationships that are ineligible for marriage. We believe Civil Unions to be discriminatory because they provide benefits only to a small segment of the population based on sexual preference, while there are many other citizens needing benefits who are in a non-sexual relationship. An example would be two elderly sisters living together, an uncle caring for a disabled nephew, or even adults taking care of elderly parents.

Upon approval of our initiative petition by the Attorney General, we will work with the legislature to introduce, “reciprocal beneficiary” legislation. The state of Hawaii adopted reciprocal beneficiary legislation in 1997 providing benefits such as:

  • Hospital visitation and medical decision-making
  • Survivorship and funeral rights
  • Durable power of attorney for health care and terminal care documents
  • Legal standing relation to wrongful death and victim’s rights and
  • Auto insurance coverage.

Reciprocal beneficiary legislation is non-discriminatory and serves all citizens equally.

Our agenda is straightforward and fair: We want the citizens of Massachusetts to decide what marriage is, not the courts. We want to ensure that all citizens with the need for benefits are served equally. And we want this process to be free from the legislative maneuverings of the last four years, which have thwarted the lawful efforts of citizens to participate in their democracy.

Thank you.



Remarks of Dr. Roberto Miranda
Chairman, VoteOnMarriage.org
June 16, 2005 Press Conference
Gardner Auditorium - 10:00 a.m.

For thousands of years, and in diverse cultures and nations, marriage has without exception been defined as the union between a man and a woman. Religions as diverse as Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity have always agreed that marriage should be exclusively reserved for male and female to come together for a complementary relationship, for companionship, sexual fulfillment and the procreation and raising of children.

A clear majority of the citizens of this Commonwealth believe that society is best served by maintaining this definition of marriage as the exclusive union of one man and one woman. To tamper with this fundamental pillar of our nation is to invite disaster and the long-term disruption of our moral and social system. To claim that the legalization of same sex marriage in our nation will have no significant systemic effect on its sexual mores, on the stability of marriage as a whole, and on the sexuality of our children and youth is disingenuous at best, if not dishonest. It is not sound public policy to introduce more ambiguity into a foundational social institution that is already experiencing debilitating stress.

Married couples, as well as youth that are contemplating marriage, more than ever require clear boundaries and well-defined moral principles to guide them, not the murky ambiguities that same-sex marriage will inevitably introduce into this fundamental institution. Children and youth also require clarity as they go through the process of defining their own sexual identity. Same-sex marriage only makes more problematic this delicate process, as more children are deprived of the benefits of growing up in a home where there is both a father and mother. To tamper with such powerful elements of our collective life in order to satisfy the chosen lifestyle of a minute segment of society does a huge disservice to the citizens of this Commonwealth, and ultimately this nation.

Even those who do not identify with the Judeo-Christian ethic must admit that gay marriage represents a risky social experiment whose long-term consequences cannot be predicted. In Massachusetts the State Supreme Court has recklessly plunged its citizens into this dangerous and controversial experiment without allowing them the privilege of exercising their right to vote. Apparently, a handful of individuals feel much more enlightened than the rest of the citizens of this state, to the point of not trusting them to decide for themselves on such an intimate matter as the definition of marriage.

This is why we stand here today, saddened by the need to adopt a conflictive position, and needlessly burdened by a judicial decision that should never have been forced upon the citizens of this Commonwealth.

As we exercise our constitutional right to bring this crucial issue before the voters of this State, let it be known that we do not represent a narrow minded, monolithic sector of the population, but rather a rich cross-section of the citizens of Massachusetts - Black and White, Hispanic and Asian, Catholic and Protestant, urban and suburban. To our judges and legislators we say: Take your hands off this delicate social matter. Allow the democratic process to follow its natural course. Let the people vote.


Remarks of Bishop Gilbert Thompson
President, Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston
June 16, 2005 Press Conference
Gardner Auditorium - 10:00 a.m.

I'm Bishop G.A. Thompson, the Senior Pastor of Jubilee Christian Church, the largest local church in the Commonwealth. I'm also the President of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, the largest African-American clergy association in New England. The BMA represents over 30,000 African-Americans in the greater Boston area, and we support the definition of marriage as the union between one man and one woman.

According to the Scriptures, long before the institution of religion, long before the recognition of socio-economic classes, long before the designation of racial or cultural clusters, God created the family.

As a Christian, I believe the family is foundational to the health of society. The Scriptures contend that to destroy the foundations is NOT in the best interest of righteousness. Therefore, I am critical of this socio-political experiment to redefine marriage and family. I believe it threatens the future health of our communities in general and our children in particular.

As an American, I defend the right of gay citizens to live as they choose under the law. But I do NOT feel that anyone has the right to change the age old institutions of marriage and the family to suit a radical sexual agenda. I've weigh in on this issue because I cannot be silent while a few politicians and jurists, in the name of democratic equity, play hopscotch with the future of our children.

The massive evidence from social science research shows unique benefits to society, and especially to children of a wedded mother and father. This is the key issue for me - our children. Heterosexual marriage is the place where the critical divides in the human race is worked on and hopefully reconciled. It is where children can see - this is how men and women work together. My concerned is that the courts are erasing the legal roadmap to marriage and the family. Make no mistake; this is a social revolution of re-definition. If allowed to continue, this revolution will deprive future generations the roadmap they will need to have a fighting chance to find their way out of the social wilderness of family disintegration.

Finally, for me, the heart of this issue is NOT about opposing homosexuals or the gay lifestyle, but it IS about protecting the fundamental definition of marriage as -the union between one man and one woman for the best benefit of our children.


BISHOPS' STATEMENT ON MARRIAGE AMENDMENT
June 16, 2005 Press Conference
Read by Maria Parker, Massachusetts Catholic Conference
Gardner Auditorium - 10:00 a.m.

We support the citizen-led effort to gather signatures for a new initiative petition that would add the following language to the Massachusetts Constitution:

When recognizing marriages entered after the adoption of this amendment by the people, the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall define marriage as only the union of one man and one woman.

This proposed amendment restores to our laws the traditional definition of marriage. To remain effective as society's primary institution for ensuring the well-being of children, marriage must be understood by government as a commitment involving one man and one woman.

The amendment addresses only the meaning of marriage itself and affects only future marriages. It takes no position on how the legislature should assign legal rights and economic benefits. Thus, if placed on the statewide ballot in 2008, it gives the people a clear choice on marriage.

We oppose another amendment, initially approved by the legislature in 2004, which combines the issues of marriage and same-sex civil unions. This proposal fails to provide a clear choice-it dictates that civil unions shall be treated as marriage in all but name. Protecting marriage is more than preserving a name. The people deserve the opportunity to vote on marriage as a stand-alone issue.

Thus, we encourage all Catholics to exercise their civil right to participate in the signature drive for the new initiative petition. When the time comes in the fall, signatures may be gathered outside Catholic churches with the cooperation of pastors. We remind supporters to conduct their campaign in a spirit of respect for all persons.

Most Rev. Seán P. O'Malley
Archbishop, Archdiocese of Boston

Most Rev. George W. Coleman
Bishop, Diocese of Fall River

Most Rev. Timothy A. McDonnell
Bishop, Diocese of Springfield

Most Rev. Robert J. McManus
Bishop, Diocese of Worcester



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