Senate proposes new Massachusetts gay commission

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More than a dozen Senate lawmakers are calling Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s bluff by proposing a new state commission on gay and lesbian youth that would operate out of his reach, just weeks after the governor threatened to abolish the current 14-year-old commission.

The Senators, including three Republicans, are backing the proposed budget amendment, angered by Mr Romney’s threat to do away with the first of its kind coalition as a means of making budget cuts.

He had made the announcement after a press release announcing a youth gay pride march was issued without his blessing.

According to the Boston Herald, Mr Romney later backed down on the threat, instead mandating that the commission return to its core mission of suicide prevention. The governor’s decision to keep the commission spawned a critical attack, with many saying he’d caved to pressure from gay rights activists.

The senate amendment would create a 27-member commission, none of whom would be directly appointed by the governor.

According to the Herald, the commission would be tasked to create “school-based and community-based programs focusing on suicide prevention, violence intervention, and the promotion of zero-tolerance policies regarding harassment and discrimination against gay and lesbian youth.”

The Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth was first created by former Governor William Weld through an executive order, which makes it impossible to dismantle without a new order issued by Mr Romney.

The Senate is expected to begin budget discussions on today.

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