Primary in Massachusetts Shows Marriage Issue Still Hot
BOSTON — In primary elections Sept. 14, Massachusetts voters went to the polls for the first time since homosexual “marriage” was imposed on the citizenry by the state Supreme Judicial Court, and a half-measure amendment that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman but calls for civil unions for homosexuals emerged from legislative deliberations.
The aftermath of the primary found both sides claiming victory. The website of the Article 8 Alliance, which is promoting an effort to remove the four justices who decided in favor of same-sex “marriage,” highlights the victories of six of seven representatives who support traditional marriage and faced a primary challenge.
Conversely, the website of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus also claims victory. Its website quotes co-chairwoman Arline Isaacson as saying, “The work MGLPC put into the primary elections paid off big time. Working in coalition with many other organizations, MGLPC and our volunteers re-elected every single incumbent who voted with us against the anti-constitutional amendment.”
According to Brian Camenker of the Article 8 Alliance, his organization is claiming a victory because “the gays put enormous resources into these seven races. They brought in a lot of people from out of state and out of district. They must have done two or three mailings a week … all mailed from the same place with the same bland kind of message.”
Asked if that message included anything regarding gay “marriage,” Camenker replied, “No, anything but.” The homosexual-rights lobby is actively involved in targeting pro-traditional-marriage politicians, but endeavors to mask its agenda when it is to its political advantage to do so, he said.
Camenker maintains that in those races where incumbents who support traditional marriage were able to make gay “marriage” an important issue, traditionalists did very well. “The gay ‘marriage’ thing is sort of an undercurrent. Where we were able to expose it, it (the voting) worked out very well.”
The representative who is perhaps the most vocal in his opposition to same-sex “marriage” is Democrat Emile Goguen of Fitchburg. He won his primary with 71% of the vote.
“I think some of the legislators that were on the opposite side are going to get a real scare in the November elections if they didn't have an opponent in the primary,” he said.
Goguen said he has been a frequent guest on radio programs around the country because of his sponsorship of the bill of address to remove the justices. “All these people are calling in and wishing me well. The feeling out there is ‘Stop it before it spreads to the rest of the country.’”
He vowed to make the bill of address succeed “if it's the last thing I do.”
In one of the closest races, targeted incumbent supporter of the bill of address Vincent Ciampa (D-34th Middlesex) was narrowly defeated (by 100 votes) by Carl Sciortino. Sciortino made news during the marriage debates when he and his homosexual “partner,” among others, disrupted Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston by turning their backs on the altar during the reading of a Church statement on marriage. Reportedly, some protesters kissed each other inside the cathedral.
The Article 8 Alliance's website has this commentary: “The Ciampa campaign was reluctant to have us do an educational mailing to inform the voters, and as a result many voters did not know about Sciortino's activities.” This fact supports Camenker's contention that where the marriage issue was highlighted in the targeted races, traditionalists fared well.
Ciampa, asked for a reaction to his loss and his immediate plans, said, “I'm trying to weigh what has happened in the precincts.”
He confirmed the accuracy of what the Article 8 campaign said about his not making an issue of Sciortino's actions in the cathedral. “I felt my campaign was a positive one,” he said. “I tried to keep it issue-oriented.”
Asked to comment on Sciortino's actions, Ciampa said, “That was the start of a staged performance that led all the way to the primary where they brought in MassEquality and other (homosexual-rights) groups. His only motive was that this is all about Carl Sciortino and not about the district. In other words, he is going to promote gay ‘marriage.’”
Difficult to Discern
Voter backlash against gay “marriage” was difficult to discern in the overall results. All the incumbents who oppose defining marriage as one man/one woman won. The most impressive victory was garnered by Jay Kaufman (D-15th Middlesex District), who won his primary with 79% of the vote. A legislative aide, Joanna Lieberman, said Kaufman's opponent was “definitely taking issue with Jay's stance on gay ‘marriage.’” But she emphasized that “there are a lot of other issues that Jay stands for that people were supporting.”
Although the Article 8 Alliance was pleased with the results in the primaries on which they focused, not all defenders of traditional marriage said the day's returns warranted much celebration. Larry Cirignano, executive director of Catholic Citizenship, which is helping the Massachusetts bishops educate Catholic voters on public-policy issues, said that “good people did nothing and evil prevailed.”
“Turnout was terrible,” Cirignano said. “Many of the churches have not done voter education.”
He said Catholic Citizenship, which earlier this year retained former Boston mayor Ray Flynn as a spokesman, is trying to get people to register to vote. “People need to pay attention,” he said. “Our point is not be for or against candidates or parties, it is to be for or against issues. Our goal is to have candidates on both sides be pro-life and pro-family.”
John Moorehouse is the editor of Catholic Men's Quarterly (www.housepntghemoor.com), based in Bernardston,
- October 3-9, 2004