Battle Lines Drawn on Marriage

(Cross-posted at the Augusta Insider)

As reported a few days ago, Stand for Marriage Maine submitted 100,000 signatures in support of the People’s Veto effort to repeal LD 1020. “It shows above all, that the people of Maine are overwhelmingly opposed to same-sex marriage.” says Mike Hein of the Maine Family Values Policy Council (formerly the Christian Civic League of Maine). The supporters of same-sex marriage disagree with Hein’s characterization of Mainers views on the issue. No on 1/Protect Maine Equality (formerly Maine Freedom to Marry) collected 60,000 pledges from voters that they would be voting no on question one. A press release from No on 1 stated that:

Our NO on 1 volunteers and field staff have gone door-to-door and neighbor-to-neighbor. We’ve attended sports and public events and everywhere we go, Mainers understand what’s at stake this November. That’s why we announced yesterday that we’ve collected more than 60,000 pledges to vote NO on 1.

Support and opposition to same-sex marriage has not followed party lines. Governor Baldacci, who did not support same-sex marriage in the past, reportedly waited until LD 1020 had reached his desk before he decided to sign. Voting in the House and Senate did not go along expected party lines in every case either. Rep. Sheryl Briggs of Mexico and Rep. Mike Willette of Presque Isle were two House Democrats to vote against LD 1020. Rep. Meredith Strang Burgess of Cumberland and Sen. Peter Mills of Cornville were two Republicans who voted in favor of LD 1020. Sen. Mills explained his vote in a comment to the Augusta Insider.

I voted for the gay marriage bill as a matter of personal conscience. I see no harm in allowing the state to license marriage between members of the same sex. If a church takes a different view, then that is for its own members to decide.
On the same basis, I voted consistently to support the anti-discrimination bills that came before the Legislature several times before the law was finally approved at public referendum in November of 2005.
Sen. Mills went on to state that he would have rather the public decide the issue of same-sex marriage.

I have long thought that these issues should be decided by public referendum, but efforts to send them out to referendum were rejected in 2005 and again in 2009. When called upon to vote on the floor of the Senate, I simply voted what I thought was right. Many other Maine residents may disagree with my vote but that is why the issue should be decided in the ballot box.

Sen. Mills has been the only Republican gubernatorial candidate at this point to clearly support LD 1020, though nearly all Democratic candidates have shown support for the bill in one way or another. This could cost Mills the support of socially conservative Republicans, but given the number of moderates in both parties, and the highly riven GOP gubernatorial primary, this is not likely to sink Sen. Mills’ campaign.

Steve Rowe will work to see same-sex marriage veto defeated

Dirigo Blue, formerly Turn Maine Blue, is reporting this morning that gubernatorial candidate Steve Rowe backs same-sex marriage legislation. In a comment to Dirigo Blue Rowe stated, “I support the marriage equality bill, and I will work to see the people’s veto defeated.”

As Rowe has supported the LGBT community in the past and received an endorsement from the Downeast Pride Alliance, this should not come as a surprise. Rowe is not the only Democratic candidate to support the LGBT community. The Maine Democratic website lists Rosa Scarcelli as a patron of the recent Southern Maine Pride reception. Rep. Dawn Hill voted for the passage of LD 1020.

Watch for upcoming pieces LD 1020 People’s Veto.

Same-Sex Marriage OK in Maine

Gov. Baldachi signs LD 1020 into law making same-sex marriage legal in Maine…Well almost.

The law goes into effect 90 days after this session adjourns in June. So same-sex couples can start getting hitched then. No big deal…Not quite.

In Maine we have a little thing called the People’s Veto. Because Maine government has no faith in itself to make good decisions, they allow voters to propose a referendum on the ballot to reject any given piece of legislature. Sometimes a People’s veto is worthwhile, but mostly it just delays the already sluggish process of Maine government.

In any case, if same-sex marriage opponents can collect 55,087 signatures of registered voters and submit there veto before the end of the session the LD1020 will be up for a vote this November.

Quit partying. The fight is far from over.

Maine Gay Marriage UPDATE

The Maine House will vote today on LD1020, the “same -sex marriage” bill. Supports believe it will have no trouble passing the House. Of the 64 co-sponsors of the bill 54 were from the House. More as it comes.

One Step Closer to Equality

LD 1020 (the marriage equality bill) has passed the Maine Senate 21 to 14 after some debate on amendments. On to the House!

…Of course the looming threat of the “People’s Veto” will surely surface in November.

LD 1020 – Maine gay marriage debates y’all

While cooking breakfast this morning I heard a brief snippet about a gay marriage vote today here in Maine. After scouring the internets, I could find no mention of this vote. All the news outlets and the Maine government site were surprisingly silent. Hopefully by the time you read this something will be up to prove I’m not going crazy. UPDATE: I did mishear. They were talking about the vote yesterday in favor of moving the bill to the legislature.

LD 1020, if passed, will legally recognize any marriage between two adults, gender specific terms being removed. It also reaffirms that this will not infringe in any way on religious teachings, meaning no church can be penalized for choosing who they will or will not marry.

Last week citizens on each side of the issue met in Augusta to voice their opinions on gay marriage. The Portland Phoenix offers a “play-by-play” of the event. My wife discouraged me from reading the thing as yelling at a weekly paper is less than productive. The article was quite good, a reminder of why twitting news just doesn’t always cut it. The piece echoes something a woman who attended the meeting told me; all of the arguments of those opposed were either biblical, junk science, wives’ tales, and easily refuted.

One woman read a poem entitled “The Manly Man” as her argument. The poem was of dubious quality, which of course is my opinion. “The world delights in the manly man, and the weak and evil flee/When the manly man goes forth to hold his own on land or sea.” The article says the author is unknown, but I found the full poem by “jollynoblefrog” at this site.

Reverend Steve Young stated, “Gay people get sick more often than straight people. If we do this, your Anthem bills will go up.” That may be true, or horribly false, but then what does that have to do with marriage? By the logic Rev. Young uses, homosexuals get sick more often just because they are gay. Their mere existence leads to their increased illness. So marriage is not really a factor.

One man opposed gay marriage on the grounds that his wife of 10 years left him for another woman. Perhaps if she could have married a woman in the first place that wouldn’t have happened. In any case, wouldn’t you rather people be in loving marriages than unhappy mismatches?

A WWII veteran said these inspiring words: “I was asked by a woman at a polling place recently if I believed in equal rights for all people. I told her that’s what I fought for on Omaha Beach.”

Some prophetic words to end with that speak to more than just this issue: “We are Republicans and Christians,” says an LD 1020 supporter standing next to her husband at the podium. “Love thy neighbor as yourself. The young people get this, you know?”