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Maine Next Hope for Gay Marriage?

Maine Next Hope for Gay Marriage?


Inspired by New York’s legalization of same-sex marriage, equality groups in Maine have this week announced they will be collecting signatures for a 2012 ballot initiative to once again put the issue of marriage equality before voters.

From On Top Magazine:

At a press conference held Thursday on the steps of Lewiston City Hall, gay rights group Equality Maine and legal group Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) announced it would file paperwork with election officials to start the process of gathering 57,000 signatures to put the issue on next fall’s ballot.

“The process of winning the freedom to marry begins today,”¯ Betsy Smith, executive director of Equality Maine, told the crowd. “There is much we must do before we can win the freedom to marry in Maine. Specifically, we must gather enough signatures to get on the ballot. We must continue changing hearts and minds about why marriage matters.”

“We know our opponents will come at us hard, like they did in 2009. They will raise a lot of money. And they will use that money to mislead, confuse and distract voters from the real subject, as they have admitted that they did in 2009.”

Maine equality advocates suffered a crushing blow in 2009 when 53% voters enacted a people’s veto on marriage equality legislation the state’s legislature had passed earlier that year. The margin was tight, and now marriage equality proponents think the outcome of a new ballot may go in their favor — and they may be right:

Two polls commissioned by the groups support their intuition by indicating that 53 percent of Mainers now favor same-sex marriage. That’s the same percentage of people who voted against same-sex marriage in 2009.

Smith pointed out that since then, the number of states that allow same-sex marriage has grown. “Like New York, and New Hampshire, and Vermont, and Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and Iowa and Washingotn D.C., we are committed to winning marriage equality in the wonderful state of Maine,” she said.

[Read more at MPBN.]

The question used in the 2009 ballot was condemned by some as misleading, however one can’t imagine a more plain question than the one picked for the 2012 ballot: “Do you favor a law allowing marriage licenses for same-sex couples that protects religious freedom by ensuring no religion or clergy be required to perform such a marriage in violation of their religious beliefs?”

The inclusion of very explicit religious protections is a smart move, but those against gay marriage are not happy.

Opponents charge that the matter was already settled by the people and that this ballot initiative will be derisive and damaging to Maine — marriage equality proponents say the damage was done when opponents of gay marriage used what they have now admitted may have been misleading arguments so as to win in 2009.

As mentioned above, marriage equality advocates will require 57,000 petition signatures to put the issue on the 2012 ballot and are said to be already reaching out to try and start conversations in communities such as Lewiston which rejected marriage equality in 2009.

Related Reading:

Maine Legislature Defeats Attack on Transgender Rights

Maine Gay Couple Voted Prom King & Queen by Classmates

9 Million People in America Identify as LGBT Says New Report

Photo used under the MorgueFile user license, with thanks to mensatic.

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10:38AM PST on Jan 25, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

1:24PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

it is NOT against christains religion to support gays or to be gay

11:45AM PDT on Aug 14, 2011

It would be GREAT if Maine voters were the first to overturn these blatantly unconstitutional restrictions against marriage equality for same gender couples.

Of course these ballot measure notoriously skew towards the anti-equality crowd. They have a vast built in network of bigotry and prejudice indoctrination and indoctrinators (the regressive hindrance to humanity for thousands of years) who can, have, and will mobilize them in overwhelming numbers to get to the polls if for ONLY one reason, to vote against ANYTHING 'gay' (their new #1 concern, that they've admitted has been a far bigger draw for them than any other anti-choice imposition they've advocated).

They WILL be there, every last one of them, when any gay equality issue is on the ballot. Whereas the average Joe or Jane American who thinks gay couples SHOULD have equal marriage rights, aren't going to make a special trip to the polls to vote in favor of it. It may be good to be on the ballot during a presidential election year, since more average Joe and Jane's will be at the polls anyhow, but still turnout isn't as good as it could be, and again the anti crowd WILL have every last one of them casting a vote.

Ultimately its up to the courts to protect the Constitutional rights of gay Americans.

8:09AM PDT on Jul 3, 2011

proud to be a canadian, where same sex marriage has been around for a long time.
your state not treating you like a real citizen? come here to marry your sweetie!

1:53AM PDT on Jul 3, 2011

Thanks for the info

1:20AM PDT on Jul 3, 2011

Thanks for this great info.

3:06PM PDT on Jul 2, 2011

I hope so!

2:26PM PDT on Jul 2, 2011

Daniel, I'm with you. I'm in the South too and we will probably be one of the last to ever allow this, which is so sad. I have been seeing letters in the paper lately backing this, so maybe a miracle will happen and some really lovely people I know will be allowed to marry.

10:13AM PDT on Jul 2, 2011

Its great to see progress made..I was so proud of New York..hopefully all the other states will catch on quickly ! Course being in the South where I may be a little longer, but lets keep our fingers crossed

7:25AM PDT on Jul 2, 2011

Best wishes and good luck. All the recent surveys put the public behind you. If a public initiative overturned the state gov., this shouldn't have to deal with all the delay tactics imposed in NY.

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