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Making a motion and then speaking against it

Guest Steve Fought

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The other night I made a motion, it was seconded, and the debate began.  During the debate I changed my perspective and eventually voted against the motion. All well and good, but I also recalled that I should not speak against the motion because I had proposed it in the first place.  I think my interpretation is incorrect. I think it would have been legitimate for me to say "I understand what you are saying, and I think you are correct, so I am now opposed to the motion".  Changing one's mind during debate is certainly legitimate, so voting against a motion you made is OK by Roberts.  (In fact, not changing one's mind in the face of evidence you are wrong, simply because of a procedural rule, seems dysfunctional....).  So it seems to me that declaring you have altered your perspective is equally OK. What think you?  //Steve//

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50 minutes ago, Guest Steve Fought said:

I think my interpretation is incorrect.

Your interpretation not only is correct, but it's not even really an interpretation.  RONR says "In debate, the maker of a motion, while he can vote against it, is not allowed to speak against his own motion."  p. 393, ll. 20-22.  


52 minutes ago, Guest Steve Fought said:

So it seems to me that declaring you have altered your perspective is equally OK.

Well, not if you are following the rules in RONR.  If your question is why the rules should be that way, keep in mind that rules are written to prevent problems and to encourage appropriate debate.  The rule prevents people from making motions with which they already disagree in order to gain access to the floor to make a different point, perhaps in favor of an alternative they are blocked from moving by some other rule.  It also keeps people from wasting the assembly's time by making motions and then saying "well, I just wanted to get a discussion going, I don't really like this idea though..."  In crafting the rule, there's no good way to single out "except if you change your mind."  However, as RONR goes on to say, if you are convinced during debate, you do have a way to make that point: seek permission to withdraw the motion.  This is, in my opinion, a good alternative because, if you do change your mind, it forces you to put your motion where your mouth is, and keeps people from, again, wasting the assembly's time, this time by hedging and hawing rather than ever taking a stand.  That is, you can express your changed opinion, by taking action to put it into effect.  

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