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earlier burfling | later burfling

Tom Finneran has just resigned as speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. This wouldn't make a bit of difference to folks outside the Commonwealth ... except that Finneran was a highly outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, and Sal DiMasi, his replacement, supports it. In particular, DiMasi voted against the proposed amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution that would ban same-sex marriage but allow for civil unions, while Finneran was critical to the amendment's passing its first hurdle.
(Note to the curious: In Massachusetts, the 160-member House and 40-member Senate sit in a joint session to decide constitutional amendments. If the amendment passes in two consecutive legislatures, it goes to the voters.)
A key legislative backer of the proposed amendment to ban same-sex marriage and establish civil unions yesterday all but declared defeat, saying that Finneran's exit from Beacon Hill was the final straw in an effort that already was in trouble because the state has legalized same-sex marriage with little of the uproar predicted by opponents.

"It is pretty much over," said Senate minority leader Brian P. Lees, a Springfield Republican who cosponsored the amendment with Finneran and Senate President Robert E. Travaglini. The House and Senate, sitting in a constitutional convention, must vote a second time in the next session before it could go to the voters on the 2006 ballot.

"In fact, there will be a question as to whether the issue will come up at all," Lees said. He said the issue has faded to the "back burners of Massachusetts politics," because few problems have surfaced with the implementation of the Supreme Judicial Court's decision to legalize gay marriage.

"With the fact the law has been in effect for a number of months and with the change in the House leadership, it would appear any change in the constitution to ban marriage is quickly fading," Lees said.

Full story here.