MARRIAGE DIGEST: Romney may withhold pay raises from legislators; N.H. residents oppose 'gay marriage' legalization

BOSTON (BP)--Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney may withhold a scheduled pay raise from legislators if they fail to vote on a proposed constitutional marriage amendment Jan. 2.

Legislators are scheduled to receive an automatic pay raise Jan. 1, but the governor decides the amount and gives final approval, The Boston Globe reported Dec. 27. A senior official in Romney's administration told the newspaper the governor is "seriously considering" withholding the raises to see what legislators do Jan. 2, when they are scheduled to meet on the final day of the session and debate the amendment.

Although the amendment almost certainly has the votes to pass, legislators three times in recent months met and recessed without giving the proposal an up-or-down vote. Romney supports the amendment, and he received a boost Dec. 27 when the highest court in Massachusetts ruled that legislators have a "constitutional duty" to vote yes or no on the amendment. The court, though, said it could do nothing to force legislators to vote. If they do not vote Jan. 2, the amendment will die.

The amendment received 170,000 signatures during a petition drive and must pass in two consecutive sessions in order to make it on the 2008 ballot. If it passes Jan. 2, it must pass again during the next session.

Massachusetts remains the only state to recognize "gay marriage," thanks solely to a 2003 landmark court ruling. The amendment would have the effect of reversing that ruling.

Even if Romney follows through and doesn't approve the pay raises, his successor, Democrat Deval Patrick, could approve them. Both legislative chambers are controlled by Democrats.

Still, it would be a symbolic victory for Romney, who leaves office Jan. 4.

Interestingly, Massachusetts' constitution requires a pay raise for legislators every two years. Some legislators told The Globe Romney would be violating the constitution by withholding the pay raises -- the very thing he has accused legislators of doing.

N.H. RESIDENTS OPPOSE 'GAY MARRIAGE' -- New Hampshire adults oppose "gay marriage" by a margin of 55-35 percent, according to a new poll, although a slight plurality favors Vermont-style civil unions. Forty-four percent support civil unions while 40 percent oppose them, according to the Research 2000 poll of 600 citizens conducted Dec. 18-20. The poll was done for the Concord Monitor.

A New Hampshire state legislator, Democrat James Splaine, will introduce a bill in the new session to legalize what he calls "domestic unions," which are virtually identical to civil unions and grant all the legal benefits of marriage, the Associated Press reported. Splaine's "long-term goal," AP said, is to have the state legalize "gay marriage," although he doesn't think the legislature is ready for that yet.

New Hampshire is one of 23 states with no constitutional marriage amendment.

HOMOSEXUAL DESIGNER AGAINST 'GAY PARENTING' -- Fashion designer Stefano Gabbana says even though he's homosexual, he opposes same-sex parenting.

"I am opposed to the idea of a child growing up with two gay parents," he told the Daily Mail newspaper in Great Britain. "A child needs a mother and a father. I could not imagine my childhood without my mother. I also believe that it is cruel to take a baby away from its mother."


For more information about the national debate over "gay marriage," visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage