Points of view: Social issues The Boston Globe

Points of view: Social issues

The Globe asked the three Democratic candidates for governor questions about social issues.
Christopher K. Gabrieli Deval L. Patrick Thomas F. Reilly
Governor Mitt Romney has sought an agreement with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement that would allow the Massachusetts State Police to arrest undocumented immigrants for being in the state illegally. Do you support the agreement? Why or why not? While enforcement of immigration laws is best left to the federal government, there are certainly some issues within the immigration debate that the state must do a better job of enforcing. Chief among them is to ensure that hard-earned taxpayer dollars pay for the work of legal workers. No. The Massachusetts State Police have enough to do already . . . without trying to enforce federal law, too. A more constructive approach would be to support the balanced legislation proposed by Senators McCain and Kennedy in the Congress (and) to enforce our own state laws concerning the employment of fully documented workers. I support the bipartisan McCain-Kennedy bill. I am also open to a limited role for State Police in helping to enforce our immigration laws. However, charging State Police with the massive task of rounding up all undocumented immigrants would divert them from fighting gang and gun violence in our communities.
Would you sign a bill granting in-state tuition rates at public colleges to undocumented immigrants? Why or why not? I do not support in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. As the son of immigrants, I understand how important immigrants are to our culture and our economy and believe we should encourage legal immigration. Yes. All resident graduates from our high schools who qualify for admission to a public college or university should (pay) in-state tuition rates, regardless of immigration status. . . . I will not support any measure that makes it harder for a young person to move out of the underclass. I would sign legislation allowing immigrant students who attended high school in Massachusetts for three or more years and earned a diploma, have taxpayer identification numbers, and are committed to becoming citizens to pay the same in-state tuition rates at our public colleges as other Massachusetts students.
Since 1998, Massachusetts has received about $800,000 in federal abstinence education funds yearly, which the Department of Public Health had historically used for a media campaign urging teens to wait before having sex. In April 2006, the Romney administration directed the DPH to divert these funds into a classroom-based abstinence-only program. If elected, would you spend the money on media campaigns, on classroom-based abstinence-only programs, or take some other action? I believe that comprehensive sexuality education should be taught in schools - this includes information about contraception and abstinence. For this reason, I would rather see federal abstinence-only funding go toward media campaigns promoting abstinence in young people than abstinence-only education. Abstinence education has a place in a comprehensive sex education curriculum, and I would support classroom-based instruction that includes this topic. I would accept and use federal abstinence education funds for use as a part of comprehensive sex education curriculum in the classroom or for a media campaign urging teens to wait before having sex. I believe that we must provide comprehensive, accurate information to our young people about reproductive health - emphasizing the value of abstinence but also discussing other ways to prevent unintended pregnancies. I would be open to using federal abstinence education funds for classroom-based programs or media campaigns that provided accurate information to our young people and fit within a well-rounded approach to health education.
Would you sign a bill repealing the 1913 state law that forbids gay couples from states that ban same-sex marriage from marrying in Massachusetts? Why or why not? I support repealing the 1913 law. Currently, the 1913 law is being used to discriminate against same-sex couples and it is being unfairly applied. Yes. In the first place, the law has suspect roots in attempts to ban interstate recognition of interracial marriage. Further, gay men and lesbians have married in Massachusetts, accepted the rights and responsibilities of marriage, and moved on with their lives out in the open. I support the right of same-sex Massachusetts couples to marry. The 1913 law has no effect on them. This law only affects same-sex couples from other states, preventing them from marrying in Massachusetts if their own states forbid same-sex marriage. I do not support repealing this law.
Do you support the proposed 2008 ballot amendment that would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman? What specifically would you do to advance or oppose the measure? No, the proposed ballot amendment is divisive and unnecessary. As governor, I will actively work to ensure the defeat of the amendment by advocating to the public that it is unwise to vote for this ballot amendment. I oppose that ballot initiative . . . I would work to protect the rights of families in Massachusetts by publicly and actively opposing this ballot amendment. I support the right of same-sex Massachusetts couples to marry. And I oppose the proposed constitutional amendment. I would vote against the amendment to ban same-sex marriage if I were in the Legislature. And if the amendment does wind up on the ballot in 2008, I will lead the fight against it.
Have you attended a same-sex wedding? If so, how did it affect your thinking on the issue? No, I haven't, but I didn't need to attend one to come to the conclusion – before the SJC ruling – that marriage equality was just that – equality. And I did go to the rehearsal brunch that was held for the seven plaintiff couples. Diane and I attended a number of commitment ceremonies before the Goodridge decision and found each one as touching, intimate and warm as we have the best conventional weddings we have attended. I have not personally attended a same-sex wedding. However, I know same-sex couples who have gotten married, and I know how much it has meant to them. I am proud that Massachusetts has given them the opportunity to make this commitment to one another.
Would you sign a bill to legalize slot machines at the state's racetracks? Why or why not? As governor, I would establish a Gaming Regulatory Commission to assess, coordinate and regulate our state's gaming activities, including the state lottery, slot machines, and casino gambling. I would devote the new revenue from gaming to increasing local aid to stabilize property taxes. I have some serious reservations about proposals to legalize slot machines and casino gambling in Massachusetts. I am not convinced that we have fully considered the social and other costs on local communities of more gambling in Massachusetts, as well as the effect new gaming may have on our very successful state lottery. I am open to having slot machines at racetracks but believe that it has to be done the right way - providing resources to address public safety and other societal issues that accompany gaming, and protecting lottery aid for our cities and towns.
Would you support efforts to legalize casino gambling in Massachusetts? Why or why not? Yes. Casinos are coming to Massachusetts once the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe is recognized by the federal government. I would support efforts to legalize casino gambling in Massachusetts so that we can be proactive in regulating casinos. I would devote the revenue generated by casinos to increasing local aid. See above. If properly done, opening a limited number of resort-style casinos in Massachusetts can not only keep some of that revenue here to meet the needs of our state but also generate significant economic benefits for the Commonwealth.
Would you support efforts to provide state funding for embryonic stem-cell research? Why or why not? I will not only continue to defend this important research, but I will make one of my priorities that Massachusetts is able to play an active role in supporting stem cell research and progress across the life sciences. I have proposed funding $1 billion over ten years to accelerate innovative research and development in the life sciences and emerging technology fields. Yes. As someone whose loved ones have suffered from incurable conditions such as lupus, Alzheimer's and diabetes, I enthusiastically support the science that offers a reason to hope. Last year, I proposed a public bond to raise public funds for investment in stem cell research facilities. I strongly support stem cell research. I support fiscally responsible state investments in research and development - including in stem cell research - to advance science and medicine and create good-paying jobs.
Source: Boston Globe