Alex Blaze

Quick update on Connecticut's Question 1 to hold a constitutional convention

Filed By Alex Blaze | November 02, 2008 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: ballot initiatives, Catholic church, Connecticut, connecticut catholic conference, family institute of connecticut, gay marriage, public referendums, Question 1, supreme court, taxation

This one came up late in the game for LGBT nutmeggers. Every 20 years the question has to appear on the ballot in Connecticut to have a Constitutional Convention, and the year is this one. Since Connecticut's constitution doesn't allow for ballot initiatives, there are groups that want to write that provision into the constitution (anti-LGBT and anti-labor groups, since they're the ones who've had success with the initiative process in other states).

So this one is indirectly about us. But considering that Connecticut's supreme court legalized same-sex marriage this past year, the stakes are higher. Also too the biggest supporters of the Yes side of Question 1 include the Family Institute of Connecticut, which specifically mentions the referendum process as their goal (I wonder what they'll use those referendums for), and the Connecticut Catholic Conference, which endorsed the measure right after the Connecticut Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage.

The latest poll (University of Connecticut, released 10/30) found likely voters support the constitutional convention 50-39. Here's more on their reasons:

Proponents of the convention have made ballot initiative the centerpiece of their campaign. The poll found that 65 percent support amending the constitution to include citizen initiative and only 44 percent support amending the constitution to prohibit eminent domain, while 51 percent oppose such a change. Those polled also opposed amending the constitution to ban gay marriage 55 percent to 41 percent.

While an amendment to ban same-sex marriage isn't guaranteed after a constitution convention, it'll be another distraction in a state that clearly doesn't want one of those anti-gay amendments. But that wouldn't stop the Religious Right from funding a battle there to amend the Connecticut constitution.

Here's an ad from the Connecticut Catholic Conference supporting the measure:

iPhone users: Click to watch

And here's an ad from the coalition against the measure, which mentions the labor, tax, and civil rights issues at stake:

iPhone users: Click to watch

Personally, I find the latter more convincing. Every now and then there are exceptions, but usually the ballot process is used to pander to people's baser instincts, as we've seen in other states when initiatives get proposed and passed against same-sex marriage, women's right to choose, racial minorities' access to affirmative action programs, progressive taxation, undocumented workers' access to ER's, and labor unions' ability to negotiate with employers. Sure, there's the Super Train initiative in California right now, but that's the exception to the rule.

Here's another ad from the No side:

iPhone users: Click to watch

The difference in quality between the ads probably has something to do with the funding gap that existed until mid-October:

As with the California battle on marriage equality, money and politics seem tightly entwined: the article noted that the newspaper The Hartford Courant had determined that those against the convention have raised a startling amount of money as compared to those looking to convince voters to approve a constitutional convention: the gap, according to the Hartford Courant, is 83 to 1.

The size of the funding gap was not lost on [former state legislator John J.] Woodcock, who said, "When you are being out-spent 83 to 1, reality sets in."

Added Woodcock, "This whole campaign is about spreading our message to voters--we have only raised $12,000 and the other side has millions of dollars to use to blanket TV with ads.

The funding situation might have changed since mid-October, since the court's decision in favor of same-sex marriage got the Catholic Church involved in Question 1 around that time. And since the decision, they've produced and started airing their own ad.

Either way, even if the fundies win this one, there won't necessarily be a ban on same-sex marriage in Connecticut.

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The Rights of Women, African-Americans, Latinos, Immigrants, People Living in Poverty, Public Employees, Ex-Offenders, Transgender, Bisexual, Lesbian, and Gay people would likely All be Under Attack if Ballot Initiatives come to Connecticut.

A Partial List of What's At Stake Under Ballot Initiatives:

Abortion Rights
Emergency Contraception for Rape Victims
Affirmative Action
Anti-Poverty Programs
Judicial Discretion in Sentencing
Public Education Funding
Comprehensive Sex Education
Human Rights to Housing & Employment for Transgender & Gender Non-conforming People
Healthcare, Social Services, & College Assistance for Immigrants
Collective Bargaining
Binding Arbitration
Healthcare & Retirement Benefits of Public Servants
Same-Sex Marriage

Don't be fooled by a Con Con.
Vote NO! on November 4.

View a video expose of the hidden agendas behind the Con Con at:

Thankfully they have to pass the proposition for a Convention. The Convention, if I remember correctly, wouldn't happen for another 2 years after the vote. Then they'd have to pass any amendments via the legislature and the people. A marriage amendment looks rather slim based on that.

yeah, the goal maybe a same-sex marriage ban, but it's doubtful that would ever get passed.

just like boroc says "it's time for change"