Oath of Office April 3, 2006
Oath of Office
Under the Constitution and Laws of the Commonwealth and of the United States every person chosen or appointed to any office, civil or military, under the government of this Commonwealth, before he enters on the duties of his office, is required to take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation: (Commonwealth of Massachusetts the Manual for the General Court 1997-1998, pg. 239).
THE OATH OF OFFICE
I,_______________________, do solemnly swear that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and will support the Constitution thereof. So help me, God.
I,_______________________, do solemnly swear and affirm that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent on me as ___________, according to the best of my abilities and understanding, agreeably, to the rules and regulations of the constitution, and the laws of this Commonwealth - So help me God.
Consistent in Goodridge, the legal challenge for same-sex/gay marriage beginning in the written decision by Suffolk Superior Court Justice Connolly has been the acknowledgement by judges, both in Superior Court and the Supreme Judicial Court, that the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts delegates to the Legislation, not the judiciary the authority to regulate marriage.
Justice Connolly (Emphasis added with bold type) writes: While this court understands the reasons for the plaintiffs’ request to reverse the Commonwealth’s centuries-old legal tradition of restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples, their request should be directed to the Legislature, not the courts.
Justice Connolly (Emphasis added with bold type) writes: This court acknowledges the inherent contradiction that the Commonwealth allows same-sex couples to establish legal relationships with their children but not with each other. Adoption of Tammy, 416 Mass. 205 (1993); Adoption of Susan, 416 Mass. 1003 (1993); E.N.O. v. L.M.N., 429 Mass. 824, cert. Denied, 528 U.S. 1005 (1999). Furthermore, the Legislature amended the adoption laws to allow adoption of children by same-sex couples. See Acts & Resolves 1999, 3 * 15. The Commonwealth’s elected representatives, not courts, should resolve this paradox. See Connors, 430 Mass at 43 (excluding the word spouse to exclude domestic partners). While this court understands the plaintiffs efforts to be married, they should pursue their quest on Beacon Hill.
Chief Justice Marshall of the Supreme Judicial Court in the majority opinion in Goodridge (Emphasis added with bold type) writes: Civil marriage is created and regulated through exercise of the police power. See Commonwealth v. Stowell, 389 Mass. 171, 175 (1983) (regulation of marriage is properly within the scope of the police power). "Police power" (now more commonly termed the State’s regulatory authority) is an old-fashioned term for the Commonwealth’s lawmaking authority, as bounded by the liberty and equality guarantees of the Massachusetts Constitution and its express delegation of power from the people to their government. In broad terms, it is the Legislature’s power to enact rules to regulate conduct, to the extent that such laws are "necessary to secure the health, safety, good order, comfort, or general welfare of the community" (citations omitted). Opinion of the Justices, 341 Mass. 760, 785 (1960). [FN12] See Commonwealth v. Alger, 7 Cush. 53, 85 (1851)
The Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens. In reaching our conclusion we have given full deference to the arguments made by the Commonwealth. But it has failed to identify any constitutionally adequate reason for denying civil marriage to same-sex couples
The Legislature’s Constitutional authority to regulate marriage was acknowledged by Chief Justice Marshall in the Goodridge decision when in the majority opinion she writes (emphasis added with bold type): Entry of judgment shall be stayed for 180 days to permit the Legislature to take such action as it may deem appropriate in light of this opinion.
For the third time now the Massachusetts Legislature is being present with the opportunity to excise the powers delegated to it by the Massachusetts’ Constitution, to regulate marriage. Two of these opportunities have been through a citizen’s initiative petition to amend the Massachusetts’ Constitution. Amending the Massachusetts’ Constitution would allow the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to be actively involved in the governing of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
In supporting this third opportunity in exercising its powers delegated by the Massachusetts’ Constitution to regulate marriage the members of the Massachusetts Legislature will be affirming its support for the Massachusetts’s Constitution and maintaining the status quo that marriage is the relationship between one man and one woman.
Pass a same-sex/gay marriage law. Should there be strong support for same-sex/gay marriage in the Massachusetts Legislature by passing a law allowing same-sex/gay marriage the Massachusetts Legislature will be excising the authority to regulate marriage delegated to it by the Massachusetts’ Constitution.
Any discussion of marriage fatigue may be valid, but it is not because of those who wish to maintain the status quo that marriage be the relationship between one man and one woman. Those advocating for changing the definition of marriage to include same-sex/gay couples have raised the issue. For the third time now the Massachusetts Legislature is being present with the opportunity to excise the powers delegated to it by the Massachusetts’ Constitution, to regulate marriage. Two times it was through a citizen’s initiative petition to amend the Massachusetts’ Constitution, so it is the Massachusetts’ Legislature that too must accept responsibility for a complaint of marriage fatigue.
Allowing the citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to participate in the governing of the Commonwealth has been clearly expressed in the issue of changing the definition of marriage to include same-sex/gay couples. It is perhaps in the best interest for all to allow them to do so with this third opportunity presented to the Massachusetts Legislature to exercise the authority delegated to it by the Constitution for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to regulate marriage.