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Maine Marriage Ballot Initiative Filed

Maine Marriage Ballot Initiative Filed

 

Marriage equality advocates in Maine have submitted for a public referendum on legalizing gay marriage.

Group Equality Maine had in fact collected the required number of signatures to put the issue of same-sex marriage on the ballot over a month ago but had been deliberating whether the coming November elections would be the best forum for the public to take up the issue. However, the group has now decided the prospect is desirable.

In the end, the group submitted more than 105,000 signatures in support of the measure, almost twice the number that is required to bring about a public referendum.

Equality Maine, commenting in a Thursday press release, said: “The number of signatures we gathered and the thoughtful conversations we’ve been having with voters tell us that Mainers are eager to speak on this question again.”

Polling data, the group says, shows that around 54 percent of Mainers support legalizing same-sex marriage, with Bestey Smith, executive director of Equality Maine quoted as saying, “Many Mainers have changed their minds and want a chance to bring equality and fairness to our state.” This is in reference to the narrow defeat marriage equality suffered at the 2009 ballot where voters opted to ban a gay marriage law the state’s Legislature had approved, enacting what is known as a “people’s veto.”

The measure will be titled “An Act to Allow Marriage Licenses for Same-Sex Couples and Protect Religious Freedom” and the wording proposed for the ballot question is as follows: “Do you favor a law allowing marriage licenses for same-sex couples, and that protects religious freedom by ensuring that no religion or clergy be required to perform such a marriage in violation of their religious beliefs?”

The wording will of course require the approval of the Maine Secretary of State, though no objections are expected.

Two other recent public polls put support for marriage equality 53%, the same margin that rejected same-sex marriage in 2009.

However, according to the American Independent, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has already pledged $32,000 to trying to defeat the marriage equality effort.

Related Reading:

Maine Next Hope for Gay Marriage?

Pastor on Gay Marriage: There’s No Us and Them

Denny’s Implementing Trans-Friendly Restroom Policy

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Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to San Diego Shooter.

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41 comments

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2:22AM PST on Jan 30, 2012

Thanks for sharing.

9:55PM PST on Jan 29, 2012

hope that Maine does it!

7:35PM PST on Jan 29, 2012

GOD is love .. a love which knows no bounds and the folks who keep quoting lines from the Bible are total idiots -- get with it, that argument is old and as said GOD loves us all and you pundits are going to be sitting right next to LGBT's..ha! You should be in Hell but God forgives, he does because of love ..and will forgive you for being such absolute moronic asses!

4:22PM PST on Jan 29, 2012

Marianne, also, if God created us all, wouldn't he want us all to have equal rights? I think you're making up your own rules because you are uncomfortable or just a hypocrite.

4:09PM PST on Jan 29, 2012

Marianne B:
"why annelies ?? because God created the institution of marriage between man and woman and no man can change that or fake that ...they can still be in a committed relationship but it should never be called a marrige. because it is not."

So wrong! My husband and I have been married for many years. We did not get married in a church. We had a Justice of the Peace sign the papers. All legal! Why can't gay people have that same right?

12:02PM PST on Jan 29, 2012

(continued) But, in any case, there are some things the majority should NOT have any right or ability to vote on, and the civil rights of the minority are at the top of that list. But, lesbians and gays WILL prevail, as other minorities have in the past, because just like happened with those groups, more and more people are beginning to see the sheer "wrongness" of the situation as it stands now. I'm proud to say that I stand behind gays and lesbians in their fight for the equal rights that should have always been theirs, and will continue to do so. Hopefully more people will continue to join me.

11:59AM PST on Jan 29, 2012

I'm not religious, so I can't really comment first-hand on that and what influence it would or does potentially have on a person in this area. Though, I have met many Christians and other religious people on both sides of the debate, so I think it's safe to say that it really depends on the house of worship one attends. Unfortunately, many "churches" use their influence to teach hate and intolerance rather than love and acceptance. Why people continue to attend them knowing the attitudes they teach is beyond me. I can only assume that they lack any ability to think and read for themselves. So, they read only the passage their religious leader points to (and no others), and parrot the meaning s/he attaches to it. Isn't it great when you can spew hatred without having to even use your own brain? It's just so much better when you can pick and choose what passages to take literally like you're at some buffet, so you're not inconvenienced but can still exercise the great entertainment of passing judgment on and condemning others.

Good for Maine. Hopefully this effort succeeds. It'll be one more big step in the right direction. Of course, when we also repeal DOMA (which WILL happen, it's inevitable, since the law itself is so unconstitutional it's unbelievable that it's been allowed to stand this far), it'll be a major hurdle overcome. But, in any case, there are some things the majority should NOT have any right or ability to vote on, and the civil rights of the minority are at

7:14AM PST on Jan 29, 2012

(con.) It is up to the couple how they choose to enter into a union.

And NEWFLASH!!: Some gay and bi-sexual people believe in God and are religious! Being gay does not exclude you from the right to choose and follow a religion.

The abomination is that so many Christian leaders have chosen to attack gay people (who were born that way) and it is shameful, ignorant, and judgemental. Let us NEVER FORGET that Jews, Blacks, Women and many other minorities have been attacked, beaten, and murdered in the name of a twisted kind of Christianity. True Christians do not hate and persecute others and it is hypocritical and judgemental to say that you "love the sinner, hate the sin." Your actions and words against gays are just THAT: HATRED. Jesus taught us LOVE and KINDNESS!!! A lot of Christians are beautiful, caring people and the people who make hateful comments on here are thankfully in the minority. Most Christians I know do not waste their time and efforts viciously fighting gay people and their rights as human beings!!



7:12AM PST on Jan 29, 2012

The United States is NOT a democracy, it is a republic, although the US seems to be leaning more towards a democracy. It is unfair and problematic when the majority votes on a minority rights issue, the minority is at a clear disadvantage and often looses because many of the majority either do not have empathy for the minority and/or are convinced that giving them the same rights (power) will be harmful to the majority.

We need to elect public officials who understand the concepts of separation of church and state, equal rights, and discrimination. Far too many public officials are gay bashers on the grounds of their religious and moral beliefs and they have convinced many far right heterosexuals that giving the LGBT community equal rights is not only harmful but against what God wants.

Also, I am convinced that many people vote against same-sex marriage simply because it does not apply to them personally. Kudos to those of us who vote for the rights of the minority when we are in the majority!!

Legalizing same-sex marriage will not hurt ANYONE. Those of you who keep claiming that same-sex relationships are an "abomination before God" are the ones who are hurting others by bringing religion into a STATE ISSUE. Separation of Church and State!!!

The bottom line is that any church can refuse to marry a same-sex couple. Marriage was around LONG before Christianity and we all know that it can be a civil union. It is up to the couple how they choose to enter in

3:13AM PST on Jan 29, 2012

Things are adding up to a much bigger change must faster than I thought possible!

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