Archive for Marriage Equality

Finding a new Nino, SCOTUS replacement

That suddenly vacated Supreme Court seat could sit for 11 to 13 months before the next President touches the Bible.

The real subject before us is how to bring the SCOTUS up to its 9 justices. However, let us not fall prey to the urge to overly praise Antonin Scalia. Everyone from President Obama to plain old lawyers have tried to outdo each other calling him brilliant and a towering figure.

In reality, he was petty and puerile. His deeply held and often emotionally based dicta on the law and Constitution were skewed by politics and worse. He strongly and anachronistically voted for states-rights interpretations of law from marriage to equal opportunity in education to women’s rights.

Let us not confuse cleverness with brilliance. He was quick to insult without intellect. Disdaining a group such as homosexuals is no excuse for harming them. He clearly did not believe in the editing adage that if you have fallen in love with a phrase, cut it out of the text.

Dems need only 4 Senate seats to take control again. Here’s betting that if GOP Senators refuse to have hearings or vote on a SCOTUS nominee, that could make the difference in the 24 races the GOP faces in the Senate in November. If they have any wit and sense of self-preservation, they’ll deal on one of the tepid centrists Obama would surely nominate.

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Joy, Not Despair, 2012

Without gloating, or with only a little, we held forth on yesterday’s elections.

Even the almost invariably optimistic Ryan did not see most Republicans rethinking their obstructionism. Mike predicted a deal on the auto-sequester at year’s end, only because that would be political suicide for Congressional Republicans in both houses if they didn’t show a bit of wit.

We talked about the role new Sen. Elizabeth Warren might play, the likelihood of Sen. John Kerry moving to Secretary of State, and other impacts of left-leaning victories in Congress. Mike started with a joyous recap of the four marriage-equality state-level victories.

Both of us were disappointed but not surprised at the vitriolic and graceless post-elections comments from GOP candidates and winger media types. That likely foreshadows their uncooperative futures, willing to hurt all of us for their political shading.

Listen in as we predict what might happen with the re-upped Obama and maybe even filibuster reform.

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O’Connor Ives Podcast

Three-term Newburyport Councilor Kathleen O’Connor Ives joined us to talk about her run for the open MA Senate seat in 1st Essex. She acknowledged it’s a tough field. She wants to beat out two other Democrats in next week’s primary. There are also two unenrolled and two Republicans after the spot.

As her website details, she has staked out specific proposals across a spectrum of issues from the environment to economic redevelopment to public safety to women’s rights to campaign-finance reform. She bristled only once with us, at the mention that one of her opponents likes to portray himself as the progressive in the race. She pointed out that her positions gives her as much right.

Listen in as she speaks to her policies and planks. We covered a wide range of topics, as well as her collaborative style by which she expects to pass legislation. She also differentiated herself from her fellow Dems in the race. For example, she said they stress their executive experience, which she says is not all that useful for a job that would entail understanding policy, parsing proposed legislation and researching. As an environmental lawyer, she thinks she has a leg up here.

Listen in as she presents herself as “not a Pollyanna.” Yet she is relentlessly hopeful and has a clear sense of direction.

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Brian Clinton Governor’s Council Podcast

People forget. Every two years in Massachusetts, they elect eight members of the Governor’s Council. That body has been in the constitution here from colonial days, as in 1629. Yet come election time, many voters are unsure what it’s about.

Today, candidate for an open seat on the body, Brian Clinton joined us to talk up himself and to explain the Council. It’s pretty important. Click below to listen in as he explains its roles, including ruling on qualifications of judges, JP, notaries and such, as well as deciding on pardons and commutations. They meet weekly and only get about $26K for their trouble.

Mike adds a disclaimer. Although they aren’t buddies, he and Clinton live in the same sub-neighborhood, Fairmount Hill of Hyde Park.

Clinton presently is chief of staff for very active Boston City Councilor Rob Consalvo. He would continue that. Check his website for his numerous other activities and credentials. He’s also husband and a dad to two tots.

In addition to describing what he sees as his relevant strengths for the Council, he has ideas. He agreed with Ryan that the Council could use more transparency. That might include televising the hearings. Also as a notary public, he thinks the pro forma renewal of their offices is questionable. He’d like the Council to consider qualifications and for roles such as justices of the peace, making sure the JPs understand MA law, such as same-sex marriage and agree to abide by it.

Unless you’re already an expert on the Council, listen to Clinton’s show.

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Netroots Nation Recap Podcast

The annual progressive convention Netroots Nation just finished — Providence this year. Ryan was there and spoke of what made the strongest impressions.

One session that struck Ryan was on marriage equality efforts at the ballot box. He disagreed with the Maine campaign using primarily straight allies in efforts to win back the right for same-sex marriage. The campaign should be using gay couples and families, he said and wrote.

It’s not the same as being there, close enough, to hit the video. Netroots has a remarkable page with clips of each session, here.

Meanwhile, listen in to today’s show to here Ryan speak of the decline in state and local blogs, which have been so influential in recent elections, and much more.

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Making Ballot Initiatives Saner

Rep. Denise Provost (27th Somerville) strikes the right and essential note with me. She is in for the long fight, if necessary, to make the ballot initiative process more reasonable and better for us all.

She joined us to speak to her bill H1830 and complementing legislation such as S12. These would bring us in line with other states as well as the original aims of plebiscites to amend our MA constitution or repeal and add laws.

Her 1830 would up the requirement to get an initiative in the works from 3% of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election to 7%. She is quick to note that not only is our current requirement the lowest among the 24 states and D.C. that have a form of the process, but that with fewer and fewer citizens actually casting ballots, the 7% roughly equals our original requirements. In our current system, about 1% of eligible voters can drive a petition to ballot. She explained the history of MA’s process from 1917.

Rep. Provost discussed how overly easy initiatives are “an end run about the legislative process,” without the public process and very little transparency. Particularly in the new post-Citizens United era, she noted that such ballots are “less and less about people and more and more about money.”

She delves into the criticisms of H1830 and S12 that would limit the subject matter for initiatives. For example, some groups chant, “Let the people vote!” and call increasing the signature requirements an “onerous” way of limiting grassroots democracy. In addition, she spoke to how interest groups have used paid signature gatherers to skew the process under the pretext of citizen movements.

Listen in as she decries “how our democratic process can be highjacked.” She also forecasts the current bills, which if they do not advance, will appear in the next legislative session.

I join her in a call to let people know, folk you influence and your legislators, that you support reforms here.


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Double Up Week with SSM and MA Sen. Hopeful

Compassion and ambition, humanity and candidacy up this week.

Monday, Rev. John Buehrens joins us at 2:00 to reflect and project on same-sex marriage by state and the nation. He has been on the board of Freedom to Marry for 9 years.

Tuesday, Mara Dolan, almost certainly with joy and eagerness about her announced candidacy for the MA Senate comes on the show. Dem activist, cable show host, and attorney, she was on recently to praise the Emerge Massachusetts program to train and encourage women to run for office. And now…

Obviously, these are two very different shows, but each guest as a progressive activist. Both shows will stream live and then be available on demand at their streaming URLs, back here at Left Ahead or on our iTunes page.

Monday, March 12th, catch Rev. Buehrens live at 2:00 PM Eastern here if you can.

Tuesday, March 13th, you can listen live to Dolan at 2:30 PM Eastern here.


State of SSM, Redo

We’re on for Rev. John Buehrens on national and state-by-state prospects for marriage equality. The show will be Monday, March 12th at 2 PM Eastern.

If you can listen live, click in then to this URL. It will be available on-demand afterward, here on Left Ahead, at the show URL, or on our iTunes page. John Buehrens

While many of us have been supporting same-sex marriage, Rev. Buehrens has been in the van of the struggle. Through his work on the board of Freedom to Marry, he’s fought and lost and won, coming to the show with powerful insights from 9 years at it.

He offers some encouragement after seeing much faster advances than he had expected. He carries no delusions this battle is over. He’ll tell us what to expect.


State of Marriage Equality


Sorry, all. A call-in problem prevented our connection today. There are 13 minutes of me blathering, which I’ll erase. I’ll reschedule this and announce the updated time, date and URLs.

John Buehrens is a UU minister and former president of the UUA. For Left Ahead, we’re particularly pleased to have him on next week because he has been on the board of Freedom to Marry for nine years. He joins us to talk about the on-going civil rights struggle and where we might expect some wins short- and mid-term.

Because Super Tuesday primaries happen on our usual day and time, we bump one day to Wednesday, March 7th, at 2:30 PM Eastern. Listen live if you can then.

As usual, if you can’t click in then, you can listen on-demand or download the show at that URL, back here at Left Ahead or on our iTunes page.

Rev. Buehrens was the first heterosexual on that board. He’s been a social activist for his 40 year ministerial career, but has gained particular insights and expertise in marriage equality in the past decade. In recent comments covered over at Marry in Massachusetts, for example, he called the Maryland win.


Progressives’ Angst Podcast

We kick around the problem of progressives and lefties in this year’s elections. Many are unhappy with inertia and temerity from the POTUS and Dem Congressional leaders.

Ryan and Mike talk about the options, support, protest and more. We hit the likelihood of wins and losses in Congress, as well as what Pres. Obama might or might not do in a second term. We don’t forget Elizabeth Warren, DOMA, jobs, or marriage equality

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