BOSTON (AP) — The first anniversary of the court decision sanctioning gay marriage in Massachusetts was marked with little fanfare yesterday, but both sides in the controversy said it was simply the calm before a renewed political and legal storm.
Lawyers at Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, which represented the seven same-sex couples who filed the landmark lawsuit, are poised to appeal a second case to the Supreme Judicial Court on behalf of out-of-state gay couples who are currently barred from marrying here.
Conservative groups, heartened by the success of anti-gay marriage ballot questions in 11 states earlier this month, are retooling their local opposition to focus on the public schools, where they say teachers now feel free to promote gay issues.
The Massachusetts Family Institute issued a pamphlet this fall, warning parents “how same-sex marriage will affect your school.” Distributed through churches and conservative organizations, the brochure shares anecdotes about how 7-year-old “Patrick” was told by his teacher that homosexuality was normal and how “Stacey,” a sixth-grader, called her parents bigots after one of her teachers had said that opponents of gay marriage were bigoted.
Such anecdotes are likely to become fodder for the second round of the Legislature’s debate on a constitutional amendment that would revoke gay marriage privileges while providing civil union benefits to same-sex couples. The Legislature narrowly passed such a measure earlier this year but must approve it again before it could wind up on the November 2006 ballot.
“Children are being indoctrinated in our public schools on the validity and moral superiority of same-sex marriage,” said Massachusetts Family Institute President Kris Mineau, sounding what is likely to be a central theme for conservatives in upcoming legislative debates. “This is unacceptable. No society should be doing this to its children.”
Gay rights advocates call this a desperate ploy and say opponents’ predictions about the evils of same-sex marriage have not come true in the six months since the first weddings began taking place on May 17.
“No longer can they assert that gay folks marrying will bring about the end of Western civilization, because it hasn’t, and no longer can they assert that it will destroy the institution of marriage, because it hasn’t,” said Arline Isaacson, co-leader of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus.