Can ordinary people roll back the legalization of homosexual "marriage" in Massachusetts? Can a Christian grassroots movement succeed where politicians, pundits, and lawyers have failed?
"The battle is NOT over," proclaims the Article 8 Alliance. "Remove the four Supreme Judicial Court judges who have illegitimately imposed homosexual marriage on Massachusetts."
"It's called a bill of address — that's how we can remove those judges," said Brian Camenker, who organized the Article 8 Alliance in February.
Article 8 of the Massachusetts Constitution sets forth a procedure for removing judges, a bill of address. All it requires is a simple majority vote in both houses of the state legislature, plus the approval of the governor, to force a judge "to return to private life." Unlike an impeachment, it requires no charges to be filed, no finding of guilt.
How Would It Work?
"Essentially, remove the rogue judges and start over with an executive order from the governor," Camenker said.
"To nullify their ruling is a two-fold process. First, remove the four rogue judges. That would serve as a de facto public declaration that the ruling was illegal — they weren't able to do this in the first place. Removing the judges would keep this court from re-instituting this particular ruling, or an even more outrageous ruling.
"Second, the governor must issue an executive order that same-sex 'marriages' will not be legally recognized in Massachusetts and that no public employee in Massachusetts may disobey the current marriage laws — the laws we had before this illegitimate court action — by issuing a marriage license to a same-sex couple.
"Constitutionally, this is the only dependable solution. We've consulted many constitutional scholars, and they agreed that this way is the most straightforward and consistent with how our constitution was meant to work."
Removing the judges via a bill of address, he said, "would be a strong symbol to the people of Massachusetts — and the rest of America — that the people have regained control of their own government."
Can It Succeed?
"Yes, this should have been done months ago," Camenker said. "But the conservative leaders in Massachusetts insisted on a constitutional amendment. The national organizations came in, the legal foundations came in, and the legislators argued and argued over the details of the amendment. They spent over $2 million on it, and they went down in flames.
"The remedy is not a constitutional amendment, but a bill of address."
The bill of address has found a sponsor in the House of the state legislature, but is expected to meet heavy opposition in the Senate. Given the mood of the Senate, wouldn't the bill automatically fail there?
"Not necessarily," Camenker said. "Our job is to make those senators more afraid of their constituents than they are of the liberal media.
"We're not waiting for the elections in November. We're not interested in defeating them then. We want them to do the right thing now."
Among the most vocal opponents of homosexual "marriage" in Massachusetts has been the Speaker of the House, Democrat Thomas Finneran. He has not taken a stand on the bill of address.
"We have no comment yet," said a spokesman for Finneran. "If the bill does come forward, he'll make up his mind then."
If the bill were passed by the legislature, would Governor Mitt Romney sign it? Romney, a Republican, has publicly said he opposes the Supreme Judicial Court decision, but his office declined to comment on the bill of address.
"You have to understand the media climate in Massachusetts," said a source close to the Speaker. "Mr. Finneran doesn't trust the media, so he won't comment. You'd be amazed by the lying, by the games played by the media in Boston. All I can tell you is that there are a lot of ways for Mr. Finneran to support the bill without saying it directly."
In addition to the liberal media, the Article 8 Alliance will have to buck Massachusetts' big labor unions.
"The unions are committed to homosexual 'marriage,'" Camenker said. "They've been taken over by a radical element."
The voice of the Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, Arline Isaacson, is a consultant for one of Massachusetts' most powerful labor unions, the Massachusetts Teachers Association.
"We don't care about the opposition," Camenker said. "There are 200 legislative districts in Massachusetts, and we've got people working in every one of them — a very large network of thousands of ordinary people."
Chief Justice Tarnished
The chief justice of the SJC, Margaret Marshall, has publicly supported homosexual "marriage" for years, going so far as to speak at a gay activist fund-raising event in 1999. (For details and a photo, see the website, article8.org.)
"It's against state law for a judge to take part in a fund-raising enterprise," Camenker said. "The media has ignored it, but it's a fact. And it's a clear violation of our state's code of judicial ethics."
The code also requires judges to be impartial. Justice Marshall, obviously, was not.
"We aren't interested in filing any more lawsuits in any more courts," Camenker said. "You're not going to get justice from a corrupt court system. These corrupt judges need to be removed, period."
To that end, the Article 8 Alliance has made available, over the Internet, lobbying kits and handouts, a list of talking points, tips on how to lobby, information on how to contact the appropriate legislators, and a petition.
"People just keep sending them in," said a volunteer at Article 8 headquarters. "They've been sending us petitions faster than we can process them. We haven't had time to count them yet — but we've got thousands of them sitting in our 'in' baskets."
"Our biggest need, right now, is funding," Camenker said. "We've accomplished very much, so far. Imagine what we could do if we had a little more money."
To send a contribution or request more information, contact the Article 8 Alliance by phone, 781-899-4905, or by email via the website, article8.org.