One step forward, one step back -- that's the refrain from same-sex marriage advocates around the Commonwealth today. The Legislature narrowly passed the first round of a Constitutional amendment creating civil unions instead of marriage rights for all; it will have to pass next year's Legislature and a referendum vote in 2006 to become law. In the meantime, a showdown is brewing between sneaky Gov. Romney and stalwart Attorney General Tom Reilly (who incidentally may run against Romney for governor next time around): although Reilly personally disagrees with the SJC on gay marriage, he's refusing to ask the court on behalf of the Gov. to delay issuing marriage licenses under the Goodridge decision this May. In short, this is going to be a long, long battle.

But speaking of Attorneys General, I was surprised to see John Ashcroft's face on TV the other day in a non-terrifying capacity -- he appears in a public service message for the federal Office on Violence Against Women. The ad features a variety of men urging others to speak out against DV, and to "Take the Pledge": "I pledge never to commit, condone, or remain silent about domestic violence," and to be role models for boys on stopping violence against women. Impressive!

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