BOSTON — Homosexual activism in what some have dubbed “the Lavender Dictatorship of Massachusetts” is frustrating traditional marriage supporters and posing a challenge to presidential hopeful Gov. Mitt Romney.

Romney reportedly tried to distance himself from the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth May 11, two days before its annual “Youth Pride Parade.”

According to its website, the commission is “ordered and supported by the governor” and “is a one-of-a-kind group in the country and perhaps the world, since it is funded partially by state money. It focuses on issues pertaining to life as a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and questioning youth.”

After the 14-year-old commission issued a press release about the parade with Romney’s name on it, the governor initially said the group would be disbanded but then changed his mind, according to a May 12 Boston Globe report.

Meanwhile, on May 10 the Massachusetts Legislature again sidestepped the same-sex “marriage” controversy by postponing action on a proposed Protection of Marriage Amendment for two months.

The amendment, which garnered a record-breaking 170,000 petition signatures, would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

“What’s really going on?” said Brian Camenker, director of the Parents Rights Coalition. “Our sense is that the politicians want the whole marriage issue to just go away, and they’re looking for a way to make that happen. But for the time being, they’ll just dodge it.”

Cardinal’s Call

Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley and his three fellow Massachusetts bishops are urging Catholics to speak up. “Our elected officials must hear from Catholics,” the cardinal said in a letter in The Pilot, newspaper for the Archdiocese of Boston.

The Massachusetts Catholic Conference, which represents all four bishops, circulated a report by Maggie Gallagher in The Weekly Standard on the chilling impact that legalizing same-sex “marriage” is already starting to have on religious freedom in the state.

But many Catholic politicians are not heeding the call to put the marriage issue to a vote.

For example, State Rep. Garrett Bradley, D-Hingham, recently told a constituent meeting that he didn’t think religious freedom would be curtailed. Said Bradley, “If two men or two women want to get married, that’s okay with me.”

Constituent Helen Cross responded, “My son is a Marine in Iraq now. He’s fighting for people to have the right to vote, and you’re telling me I don’t have that right here?”

“I became a citizen six years ago so I could vote,” said another constituent, Emilia Buckley, a native of Venezuela. “I wanted to raise my children where my voice would count.”

An independent poll May 4 by the Statehouse News Service in Boston showed 75% of registered voters believe the voters, not the courts, should decide the issue.

But homosexual activists, such as MassEquality and the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (Glad) have pitched a concerted effort to kill the amendment.

The state’s high court is considering a lawsuit filed by the homosexual advocacy group that challenges its legality, so lawmakers postponed action on the amendment until July 12.

Glad claims that the state constitution does not allow citizen-initiated amendments to reverse judicial rulings. But Attorney General Tom Reilly has said the amendment is legal and VoteOnMarriage.org, the coalition that includes Catholic bishops pushing for the vote, stands behind its validity.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the same court that by a one-vote margin in a 2003 ruling imposed same-sex “marriage” on Massachusetts, is expected to rule on the lawsuit in June.

Already, marriage petition signers have been intimidated by having their names and addresses posted on a homosexual advocacy website, said Carolyn Walsh of Hingham. “People feel threatened,” she said.

In fact, a Truro man recently lost his bid for reappointment to a town board because his name was listed on the website, according The Cape Cod Times.

And clergy support of the marriage petition in the Diocese of Springfield was severely misrepresented when the Springfield Republican used the website as a source rather than checking with priests directly, said Michael Forrest of Hampden.

Forrest did not believe the website’s claim that only 20% of Catholic clergy in the area supported the marriage petition. He made his own calls and found that nearly 50% more priests indicated to him that they had signed the petition, and there was almost 90% agreement with the bishops’ position among the priests contacted.

Lisa Barstow of VoteOnMarriage.org believes the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will let the marriage amendment proceed. If so, lawmakers must deal with it in July before adjourning. Romney can call them back into session if they don’t.

More Hurdles

If the petition advances, it will still face legislative hurdles before inclusion on the 2008 ballot. State Rep. Emile Goguen, D-Fitchburg, a Catholic and a strong supporter of marriage, said, “Anything is possible here.”

Goguen filed a pro-marriage bill last year that he said homosexual State Sen. Jarrett Barrios, D-Cambridge, later changed without Goguen’s approval in a way that makes the bill’s passage much more difficult. Barrios is “married” to his partner, with whom he adopted two boys.

Barrios declined comment on the issue, but both Goguen and Evelyn Reilly of the Massachusetts Family Institute speculated that Barrios’ motive in amending Goguen’s bill was to confuse voters.

“They play games here,” Goguen said.

“This time is our Battle of Britain,” said Camenker, who also heads the Article 8 Alliance opposing homosexual activism and who brought the Youth Pride Parade release to the attention of Romney’s aides.

Added Koenan, “All we have left it seems is prayer and fasting, which is really not so little.”

Gail Besse writes from

Hull, Massachusetts.