May 14, 2007

"Coakley to fight for gay marriage" [LINK]

Today's letter to The Globe:

I was puzzled by a recent report on Attorney General Martha Coakley's comments before the Massachusetts Lesbian & Gay Bar Association. Coakley vowed that if the proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage were to be approved by voters in 2008 after passing a second legislative vote, she would direct her office to vigorously challenge it "on constitutional grounds."

It seems appropriate for the Attorney General to offer her legal opinion to the legislature or the voters at large that the amendment is incompatible with the spirit of the existing Constitution. But it makes little sense to challenge an approved constitutional amendment in subsequent litigation on constitutional grounds, since the whole point of the amendment process is to change the existing state of constitutional jurisprudence. If the amendment passes, isn't it Coakley's duty to uphold the Constitution, rather than select those portions with which she agrees?

From reading the Globe's report, I don't understand the legal principle under which the Attorney General operates.


5/20 Update: It made it, though stripped of qualifiers that expressed my ignorance on the legal issues involved. I'm further puzzled why you would initial-cap the word "Legislature," but not "constitution."

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