Guest Post: Truth Pressed to the Earth will Rise Again

By Harris Parnell (State Director of The League of Young Voters)

On the historic election day of 2008, Equality Maine, the LGBTQ rights group here in Vacationland, worked with hundreds of volunteers across the state and gathered over 30,000 signatures in favor of marriage equality.  30,000 signatures, in case you’re wondering, is an astonishing number of folks engaged in one day in Maine.  Those 30,000 people helped to launch the most extensive and impressive campaign for equal rights we’ve ever seen here—from the legislature to the governor to the educational and get-out-the-vote work.  The League, as part of the Maine Freedom to Marry Coalition, was right there with them. Continue reading

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Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry to Hold Interfaith Candlelight Vigils

Portland, Maine (Sunday, November 1, 2009) — This weekend, faith leaders from the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry in Maine, will hold interfaith candlelight vigils in communities across the state to remind people of all faiths to vote NO on Question 1.

“We will gather in candlelight this weekend to pray that the law granting the right, gift, and responsibility of marriage for all residents of the State of Maine will be upheld at the polls this Tuesday,” said Rev. Emily Gibson of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Brewer.  “As people of faith, we declare that there are no second class citizens in the eyes of God, and that the rights many of us take for granted as married people belong to all couples who wish to make a lifelong commitment.”

Vigils will be held in Brewer, Machias, Augusta, Auburn, Norway – South Paris, Brunswick, Portland and Kennebunk.  Information on specific dates, times and locations is below.

Representing 18 faith traditions, the diverse coalition of active and retired clergy, believes that only marriage equality confers the full protections and dignity all Maine families.   The coalition has held discussions on marriage equality in the context of their faith traditions, invited guest pastors to speak, and hosted phonebanks.

“Believing that our faith calls us to stand on the side of love, many members of Maine’s religious communities strongly support marriage equality.  This weekend, we join together in bearing public witness to our support of a NO vote on Question 1,” said Rev. Jodi Cohen Hayashida of the First Universalist Church of Auburn.

VIGILS WILL BE HELD:

Sunday, November 1:

Brewer, from 5:00 PM to 5:30 PM, at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, 21 Holyoke Street;

Machias, at 5:00 PM, at Centre Street Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, 9 Center Street;

Augusta, from 4:00 PM to 4:30 PM, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta, 69 Winthrop Street;

Auburn, from 5:00 PM to 5:30 PM, at the First Universalist Church of Auburn, 169 Pleasant Street on the Spring Street Lawn;

Brunswick, from 5:30 PM to 6:00 PM, on the Brunswick Mall, Maine Street;

Portland, from 5:00 PM to 5:30 PM, at the Williston-West Church, United Church of Christ, 32 Thomas Street;

Kennebunk, from 5:00 PM to 5:30 PM, at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, 114 Main Street.

 

No on 1 Calls for An End to Distortions and Attacks

Speaker Hannah Pingree and former Maine Attorney General Jim Tierney joined together at No on 1 today.  They spoke refuting the education claims made by Yes on 1, as well as other worries.  Speaker Pingree also defended the process by which AG Mills answered Ed Commissioner Susan Gendron’s questions about LD 1020 and education.  “The commissioner did the right thing by seeking an opinion from Maine’s top legal officer on these non-stop claims,” said Speaker Pingree.  “But when they didn’t get the answer they wanted, the Question 1 campaign attacked the messenger rather than finally acknowledging the inaccuracy and harm caused by this non-ending barrage.”  I admire Speaker Pingree and former AG Tierney for coming to the defense of same-sex marriage, but you can be sure that those opposed to same-sex marriage in Maine will say they too are just part of some bigger scheme.  Again, I appreciate their work, but misinformation and speculative “facts” aside, I would imagine most people have made up their minds at this point.  You are either are going to vote yes or no and are pretty solid on that decision.  I think that will be the last I’ve say on this issue, which I’ve decided literally as I type this.  You know how you are going to vote.  If I haven’t changed your mind yet, I wont.  I’ll still post releases from No on 1, but I think I’ve made my case.  See you at the polls. Continue reading

Town Officials Speak Out in Opposition to Question 1

Town officials met in Bangor today in support of No on 1.  They reiterated yet again that LD 1020 will end discrimination in civil marriage and continue protecting religious freedoms.  The officials representing communities in several eastern and central Maine counties.  The officials, some of whom were former school board members, reiterated that there is nothing in LD 1020 that would impact what is taught in public education.  “I also taught Sunday School at Hancock Congregational Church for many years.  Teaching about marriage and moral values belongs rightly in church and in the home.”, said one speaker.  Read the full statement after the cut. Continue reading

AG Mills Debunks Education And LD 1020 Myths

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills has just released her assessment of how LD 1020 (the same-sex marriage law) will impact Maine public school curricula.  AG Mills has gone over Maine laws related to education with a fine toothed comb looking if they have even the slightest mention of teaching about marriage of any sort in public schools.  It should be no surprise that her search turned up nothing.  So why should we believe that same-sex marriage will suddenly be forced upon our children in public school?  We shouldn’t.  Continue reading

Green Independent Party Releases Its 2009 Voter Guide

The Maine Green Independent Party has announced its 2009 voter guide.  The guide covers the November 3rd ballot referendum questions, giving voters the Green Party’s opinion on each.  “It is a crowded ballot, this year, and we anticipate that many voters will have a clear idea as to how to vote on high profile referendum questions, but will find other questions for which they were less prepared,” said Anna Trevorrow, Chair of the Maine Green Independent Party.  The Green Party has stated that their recommendations on each question reflect the party’s commitment to decentralization, sustainability, gender equity, and social justice.  On to the guide.

Question 1 (Reject Same-Sex Marriage Law) –No –  The institution of marriage is at least partially defined by our government in that issues such as tax benefits and rights of survivorship are automatically granted to married couples. If the institution of marriage is available to some loving couples, it ought to be available to all. The MGIP supports an emphatic NO on 1.

Question 2 (Cut Excise Tax) –No – The MGIP supports tax structures that encourage Mainers to use bus, rail and other alternative transportation. A reduction to the excise tax would promote the sales and production of new vehicles, and give a tax break to individuals able to afford new vehicles. This will put more cars on the road in a time when we need to be moving away from the old model of an automobile-centric transportation system and towards a new era of clean, affordable, and convenient public transit.

Question 3 (Repeal School Consolidation Law) – Yes – The party believes that individual municipalities are the best equipped to assess their structural and financial needs. Some areas of the state may benefit from consolidation, while others stand to lose out significantly. Communities are best equipped to assess the potential benefits (or lack thereof) of school consolidation.

Question 4 (TABOR II) – No – The MGIP believes that a crucial role of the government is to provide needed services to its people, especially those least able to provide for themselves. If passed, this proposal would essentially tie the hands of Maine’s state and municipal governments to perform the basic function of providing social services to the people of Maine.

Question 5 (Medical Marijuana) – Yes – Predominantly, this proposal refines the existing medical marijuana laws already on the books in Maine. Maine already has medical marijuana, but this proposal sets guidelines for production, distribution, and consumption. The MGIP supported medical marijuana when it originally passed, and supports this refining initiative

You can read the full recommendations for each question at the MGIP’s website.

Women’s and Children’s Groups Support No on 1

No on 1 has received more endorsements from Maine women’s and children’s groups today.  Several groups including the Maine Women’s Lobby, Maine National Organization for Women, Family Planning Association of Maine, and Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence were just a few who urged Mainers to vote no on question one.  Read the full release from No on 1 and statements from some of the supporting organizations after the cut. Continue reading