Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Finneran to the rescue? It looks like the best hope for gay activists and all supporters of marriage equality is House Speaker Tom Finneran. Really.

Senate president Bob Travaglini and Senate minority leader Brian Lees have crafted a compromise amendment to the state constitution that would ban same-sex marriage, but would guarantee the right of civil unions. It is reasonable and well-intentioned, but would perpetuate the inequality that the Supreme Judicial Court so eloquently denounced in its Goodridge decision last fall. (Boston Globe coverage here; the Boston Herald's website seems to be messed up this morning.)

Because Finneran doesn't like the civil-unions provision, he may try to scuttle it, leaving an amendment that would be far harsher, and thus less likely to pass muster with a majority of the 199 legislators who will meet at today's constitutional convention. And remember: Finneran controls 160 of them, as compared to just 39 for Travaglini. (Ironically, Travaglini is short a member because Cheryl Jacques resigned to become head of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay-and-lesbian-rights lobbying group.)

The constitutional convention will take place after the deadline for this week's Boston Phoenix. But Phoenicians will be swarming around Beacon Hill all day (and night) today to put together an in-depth report for, which will appear tomorrow. There may even be some updates posted today. So keep checking in.

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