Massachusetts pro-family giant Ed Pawlick dies at 80. Founded Massachusetts News and Mass. Citizens for Marriage. Changed the face of the "culture war" landscape.
J. Edward Pawlick, who donated millions of dollars plus enormous personal energy to fight the pro-family battles in Massachusetts, passed away Sunday evening at his home in suburban Boston. He was 80 years old and had been in declining health. His wife, Sally, said he passed away peacefully.
Ed was publisher of Massachusetts News and founder of Massachusetts Citizens for Marriage. He wrote three books, was active in promoting pro-family legislation, and helped fund numerous other pro-family enterprises.
When Ed Pawlick burst upon the "culture war" scene in Massachusetts in the 1990s he was like no one anyone had seen before or since. Ed was completely fearless, imaginative, and willing to spend money to get things done. He understood the problems and the threats to society better than most conservative leaders. But he was a tough man to work for. The list of people who worked with him at one time or another is a virtual who's who of the pro-family movement in Massachusetts.
He was (and continues to be) hated and misunderstood by the mainstream press, the liberal establishment, and particularly the homosexual movement. That didn't bother Ed; he was focused on making a difference.
It started with a pamphlet.
In the spring of 1998, Ed reacted to the push in Newton, Mass. for homosexuality in the schools and city-wide "domestic partnership" legislation by publishing a pamphlet titled "An Intelligent Discussion of Homosexuality", which he mailed to every house in the city.
Ed's pamphlet so angered the local liberal establishment that they called a city-wide "anti-hate" meeting in the Newton library. The meeting was packed and included school officials and local legislators. Ed also showed up, with his wife Sally. But local conservatives surprised and shocked the group by vociferously defending what Ed had written.
Over the next several weeks, Ed mailed the pamphlet to every house in several other towns in the state. Reaction was explosive, but Ed was waking people up.
That fall Ed started the MassNews.com website. But the Internet was still young, and he wanted to reach out to more people. So the following year he began publishing the Massachusetts News newspaper, with pro-family news and features that no other outlet would report on or even discuss. The first issue was in June 1999.
Massachusetts News came out monthly. It was a full-color tabloid which, at the height of its reign, was 24 pages long and sent free to 250,000 households across Massachusetts. Out of a building in Wellesley, Ed had a full staff of reporters and editors, with Ed as the hands-on editor-in-chief. Each morning MassNews.com would have the latest news & features posted, which the newspaper would build upon when it came out.
Ed was on the cutting edge of many important pro-family issues. Massachusetts News broke the infamous "Fistgate" story before the mainstream media finally got to it. It covered fathers' rights when no one had heard about it. It took on abortion, homosexuality, parents' rights, judicial corruption, and more. No one had seen anything like it.
Ed published Massachusetts News for four years - 48 issues, and the MassNews.com website continued another two years. Massachusetts News is still quoted occasionally in the media. (The MassNews archives was officially "closed" last year, but there are efforts to put it back online.)
For those four years and beyond, Massachusetts News was the soul of the pro-family movement.
Mass. Citizens for Marriage
In the spring of 2001, Ed called together a small group of pro-family "brain trust" people to discuss a new project. He was concerned that a future court or legislature might impose homosexual "marriage" on Massachusetts. He wanted to proactively head that off by a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment. Massachusetts Citizens for Marriage (MCM) was born. Ed funded an office and staff in Waltham. They put forth a "strong" marriage amendment which banned any civil unions and domestic partnerships as marriage alternatives. (The recent amendment by the Coalition for Marriage did not ban those things.)
MCM brought together hundreds of people to gather signatures for the marriage amendment petition. Homosexual activists organized and used brutal and sometimes violent harassment tactics to try to stop them. Candidate Mitt Romney, running for Governor, refused to support the amendment, calling it "too extreme", and even tried to get the signatures of his wife and children removed when he found out they had signed it. But in the end, MCM collected over 120,000 signatures, over twice as many as needed.
It then had to get 50 votes out of 200 when the Legislature met in constitutional convention. It met on July 17, 2002. But instead of allowing a vote, Senate President Tom Birmingham, who was running the meeting, disgracefully refused to hold a vote. He immediately held a vote to adjourn. Fifty-three members voted not to adjourn, which indicates that it might have passed the 50-vote barrier had the vote been allowed.
Ed immediately went to the Supreme Judicial Court and argued that the Massachusetts Constitution required then-Governor Jane Swift to call the Legislature back into session until they voted on the amendment. The court issued a decision agreeing with Ed. But Swift refused to comply with the court's decision and the amendment died.
The Bill of Address
The following year, Ed's prediction came true when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to ban same-sex marriages. Ed understood that the ruling was illegal. In early 2004 when Article 8 Alliance (now called MassResistance) proposed introducing a Bill of Address in the Legislature to remove Chief Justice Margaret Marshall and the three justices who voted with her, Ed supported it wholeheartedly.
Ed, along with his wife Sally, tirelessly helped Article 8 Alliance bring together support in the Legislature for the Bill of Address. In April, Rep. Emile Goguen (D-Fitchburg) formally introduced it. Soon afterwards, 24 other legislators publicly voiced their support.
But Rep. Salvatore DiMasi (D-Boston), who was House Majority Leader and fiercely pro-homosexual, ordered House Rules Chairman Angelo Scaccia (D-Boston) to keep it bottled up in committee. Even though the a majority of Rules Committee members claimed they voted to let the Bill of Address move forward, Scaccia had the committee ballots counted secretly and announced that the vote had failed, when the committee held its vote in July, 2004.
Ed still didn't give up. He used radio ads and even airplane banners over Boston to attempt to force House Speaker Thomas Finneran to allow the Bill of Address to come up for a vote. But Finneran steadfastly refused.
Ed continued fighting, and wrote a book, Libel by the New York Times, about the forces that fought to impose homosexual "marriage" on Massachusetts. And he continued to inform people around the country about what had happened in Massachusetts. But in 2005 Ed's health began to decline and eventually he had to close down the MassNews.com website.
A fighter all his life
Ed was originally from rural Pennsylvania. After college, he fought in the Korean War and afterwards got a law degree and practiced law. He was also an assistant professor at Penn State University, an elected member of the district school committee, and solicitor for the Sheriff of York County.
Ed founded Lawyers Weekly Publications out of his house. When he sold the company in 1998, it was publishing 8 newspapers and reaching 30% of the lawyers in the country. It employed 40 lawyer-editors, 20 lay editors, 45 advertising salespeople and others.
Ed is remembered for his advice that any intelligent person can understand how the law works, and most lawyers are over-rated.
Besides Libel by the New York Times, Ed wrote two other books: How to Avoid being Overcharged by Your Life Insurance Salesman in 1968 and Freedom will Conquer Racism and Sexism in 1998.
Besides his wife, Sally, Ed is survived by four children and ten grandchildren. There will be a private funeral service. We will all miss him.