Saturday, October 22, 2005

Rules of marriage and physics

The degree to which one physics class can obliterate the rest of one's life is truly amazing. Blogging was just one of the casualties. Having memorized as many applications of the all-important equation F=ma and plunked them down on at least 80% of the questions on my exam (woo! so much better than I thought), I'm enjoying popping up to the surface.
A much belated Thank You!!! to the Massachusetts legislature, especially the 115 members who voted against the proposed anti-marriage amendment because they know that voting no was the right thing to do. To clarify the future for all those confused by this process:
Two of our legislators proposed the amendment that was just defeated, so it required more than half the legislature to vote for it, two sessions in a row, to send it to the ballot. The legislature narrowly passed it the first time, and just defeated it by a landslide the second time, so it's gone.
There is an initiative petition in progress, requiring 65,825 signatures to be sent to the legislature. This amendment is more extreme than the previous one, eliminating all legal rights for same-sex couples. Since it is on the initiative of citizens (not legislators), only 25% of the legislature (50 members) have to vote for it, two sessions in a row, to send it to the ballot. The earliest this could happen would be 2008.
If the (paid) petitioners get the required signatures (it is likely they will), we would need 150 legislators to vote against it. Right now, we know we have 115 allies. That means we would need 36 more legislators to confirm that they are on the side of equality and vote against it.
Our only other possibility it that the Senate President, Robert Travaglini, has the power to open and immediately close a constitutional convention so that an amendment will not be voted on and thus disappear. Tom Birmingham did just that in 2002 when he held the post. Travaglini was one of the original two co-sponsors of the no-marriage-but-civil-unions proposal that was just defeated. His other co-sponsor, Brian Lees, voted against it the second time around, but Travaglini voted for it both times. I don't know if we know whether he would rather support completely stripping thousands of married couples of their legal rights than support full equality for them. I guess we'll just have to see.
In the meantime, if you see any petition-gatherers outside your place of worship or a store you go to, please do approach the table and see if they are doing multiple petitions at once, and if you really want to get into it, feign interest and see if they try to confuse you. They get paid more for the anti-marriage petition signatures than for the other petitions they are doing, and may try to slip in the anti-marriage petition (labeled Petition K) for another one they've just told you about. If you notice multiple petitions going, and especially if you witness any shenanigans, please report it to
Despite the pressures of legal hoopla and physics agony, I still find time to do the bride thing. Nothing could have stopped me from picking up my dress early last week (wayyyyy ahead of when they said it would be in. woohoo!) My beautiful dress and veil and my rediculous looking hoop-slip are now in my bedroom, shining away gloriously. Also, last Sunday, Josi and I officially joined the congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Northampton and Florence, where we will be married next year. Unless, of course, I get my way and we have it outdoors. We shall see! We'll be getting up early to go to the UU in the morning and celebrate Yom Kippur. I've never done that before, so I'm looking forward to an interesting adventure!

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