350 Maine Lawyers Support No on 1

The campaign against same-sex marriage is becoming unraveled.  Nearly every single argument that has been publicly made in favor of a Yes vote on Question 1 has been refuted.  The claims of rising lawsuits, loss of tax exemptions, and same-sex marriage being forced on school children have all been proven wrong many times over.  (Check out my archives, Dirigo Blue, Maine Politics, Bill Nemitz, and numerous news paper Op/Eds for proof)  If you can’t see that the claims made by Yes on 1 are completely false the you just don’t want to.  Today over 350 lawyers from all over Maine have come together to urge voters to vote No on 1.  The lawyers have called the S4MM ads “blatant distortions of the law” and break down once and for all legally breakdown what LD 1020 will and wont do.  Read the full statement after the cut. 

Portland, Maine (Wednesday, October 7, 2009)—More than 350 lawyers from across Maine – from Kittery to Fort Kent – who teach, practice and write law in the state, have signed a statement rebutting the misinformation and distortion created by the Question 1 campaign ads, and urged voters to reject the ballot measure and support marriage equality.

“These ads are a blatant distortion of the law,” said Michael Asen, a Portland attorney who has been active in the NO on 1 campaign. “As legal professionals, many of us felt a responsibility to stand up and make sure Mainers know the truth about the law.”

The statement entitled “Lawyers for Marriage Equality” is divided into two categories – what the marriage equality law does and what it doesn’t do.  It makes clear that the law, enacted in May, does not threaten the tax exemption status of churches, has nothing to do with schools or curriculum, and will not lead to law suits.

According to Jane S. E. Clayton who practices law in Bangor, “Maine’s law ends discrimination while protecting the First Amendment guarantee of religious liberty of both houses of worship and individuals.”

Identifying themselves as coming from “all political affiliations,” the lawyers add that “we know Maine and still have our common sense.  Our opponents are not only wrong on the facts, they are purposely sounding false alarms.”

The lawyers’ statement was prompted by one political advertisement that focused on a Boston College law professor who warned of dire changes under the new law.

“The ad is trying to divert attention away from the central issue which is to make sure that all Maine couples and families are treated equally – that’s what this law does,” said Jon Doyle, an Augusta attorney who has practiced law in Maine for 48 years and is active in the NO on 1 campaign.  “The law was carefully written to protect religious liberties and in no way impacts what’s taught in our schools.”

“Maine’s new marriage law protects religious freedom and guarantees equal protection under the law for all Mainers,” added Lewiston attorney, Jodi Nofsinger.

Included with the letter was a September 18th legal memorandum, which methodically rebutted the Question 1 campaign distortions. It was signed by Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell, Speaker of the House Hannah Pingree, Representative Emily Cain, former Attorneys General Steve Rowe and James Tierney, Dean Peter Pitegoff*, University of Maine School of Law and Professor David Cluchey*, University of Maine School of Law.

A complete list of lawyers who signed the letter will be available upon request.

*University listed for identification purposes only, not endorsement.

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