Who Wins, Who Loses?

Some initial thoughts:

--This will be a big piece of Deval Patrick's first-term legacy, and it's worth appreciating how much he put himself out there on this issue. And I honestly believe, from all that I've heard, that he was working it through oratorical persuasion and not dealing favors.

--Speaking of which, this was a remarkable display of how much things have changed on Beacon Hill, just from a leadership and process standpoint. Therese Murray and Sal DiMasi run very different operations than the old Finneran/Bulger models, which means the legislators are (to a degree at least) actual thinking, independent operators rather than pawns doing as they're told. (Note that two of DiMasi's top lieutenants, DeLeo and Petrolati, voted against Sal despite rumors that he would order them to switch.)

--Big, big, big sigh of relief coming from T. Murray's office, I'm sure. She really was in no position to deliver the votes, as almost the whole senate was already on board. But she was the one who had to run the show, and to decide whether to hold the vote, postpone, or ultimately pull some chicanery to kill it procedurally -- hardly what you want as your first high-profile action as senate president. I think she handled things very well, although I would have preferred her to allow some floor debate, particularly to allow the freshmen voting No to get some valuable face time if they wanted it.

--As I suggested in last week's Phoenix, the leaders didn't want to bring the vote unless they knew they had the Yes votes down to 45 or 46, so as to not put anybody in a spot of thinking they would be looked at as "the vote." Turned out to be 45.

--Kudos to Sen. Michael Morrissey, and whoever convinced him to switch. Morrissey has been at odds with new Senate President Therese Murray in the past (Morrissey thinks he should have the gavel), so it must have pained him to help give her this big victory. I had expected his switch, although not as confidently as sen. Canderas (who I'm told has been seen at MassEquality events).

--If I'm correct, the switched votes came from Quincy, Wilbraham, Brockton, Webster, Holliston, Wrentham, Franklin, and South Boston. Make of that what you will, but I don't see a pattern compared with the Yes votes that didn't switch.

--Two freshmen Democrats who were considered real unknowns were Angelo Puppolo Jr. of Springfield and Geraldo Alicea of Charlton, both of whom voted No.

--An unsung hero for the gay-marriage victory is Phil Johnson, former chair of the state Democratic Party. When Mitt Romney came hunting for legislative seats in 2004, Johnson rose to the challenge and wiped the floor with state GOP chair Darrell Crate, actually gaining seats in the end. Had things gone differently, there's no way the amendment would have lost today. (Along with Johnson, the other key to that '04 victory was gay-marriage opponent Robert Travaglini, who dispatched his people and funds everywhere they were needed.)

--On the same logic, Mitt Romney's total inability to win even a few seats for his party now has to be considered a primary reason that same-sex marriage will continue in Massachusetts -- which he exacerbated by making absolutely no effort to lobby for votes this week. And if I was Sam Brownback or Mike Huckabee or Jim Gilmore I would be saying that all up and down Iowa.

-- David S. Bernstein


* The Phoenix editorializes about the death of the ammendment: Jubilation! Today Massachusetts, tomorrow the world.

* Massachusetts State Senator explains why she switched to vote no against the ammendment.

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