Massachusetts legislator seeks to remove pro-gay judges
April 21 2004 12:00 AM ET
A Boston group that opposes gay marriage has enlisted the help of a state legislator in a long-shot attempt to remove the four justices on the state's high court who ruled that banning gay marriage is unconstitutional.
Democratic state representative Emile J. Goguen told The Boston Globe that he plans to file legislation Tuesday to oust the justices, even though he is the measure's only sponsor. He sees the bill as a way to pressure members of the supreme judicial court to reconsider their 4-3 decision.
Goguen, who voted against a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage but allow civil unions, said he agreed to sponsor the measure after he was approached by members of the Article 8 Alliance, a group that opposes same-sex marriage.
Justices Margaret Marshall, John Greaney, Roderick Ireland, and Judith Cowin ruled in November that the state constitution forbids excluding same-sex couples from civil marriage. The ruling, which allows gay couples to legally marry, goes into effect May 17.
Article 8 coordinator Brian Camenker said he approached about 40 lawmakers, seeking support for the measure, but that most were reluctant to back the proposal, at least until April 27, when they learn if they will have any opposition in the fall elections. "A lot of them are afraid of being bashed in the newspapers, but when you close the door with these guys, they're very angry with what's been happening," Camenker said.
Arline Isaacson, cochair of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, called the bill "absolute insanity.... I can understand if our opponents don't like the decision, but our opponents have no rational basis for removing any of these judges." The state constitution allows for the removal of judges, but the provision is rarely exercised and rarely successful.