Maine’s Short Gay Marriage Ballot Question Riles Both Sides


The ten-word proposed ballot question on legalizing marriage equality published by Maine’s Secretary of State office this week has drawn criticism from both opponents and supporters of the measure.

Both sides say that the wording leaves out important aspects of the proposed change to Maine’s constitution that would overturn Maine’s ban on marriage equality and legalize same-sex marriage.

Reports the Kennebec Journal:

The proposed question — “Do you want to allow same-sex couples to marry?” — was released Thursday by Secretary of State Charlie Summers.

The wording of the question is significantly shorter than what was proposed by activists who gathered the signatures to put the issue on the November election ballot. In addition to asking voters if they wanted to allow same-sex couples to get marriage licenses, their question made reference to “ensuring no religion or clergy be required to perform such a marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.”

This wording, while unnecessary because such protection is already guaranteed under First Amendment rights, has proved very successful in garnering broader support, especially among Independents and some moderate Republicans, in states like New York. With that language removed it will be up to LGBT rights advocates to make it explicitly clear to voters during the ballot campaign that these marriage rights would not impact religious autonomy.

At the same time, opponents of the measure object to the fact that the proposed question does not include the message that it would “redefine” marriage. This kind of language, part of the National Organization for Marriage’s playbook, has similarly been a powerful motivational force against gay marriage in states like Maine itself where marriage equality was, against all expectations, defeated in 2009.

However, some supporters of marriage equality have praised the concise concise language, saying that it gives the voting public a very clear choice to “approve” or “deny” the ballot’s proposal.

Maine voters are currently polling at around 54% support for marriage equality.

The publication of this language marks a 30-day consultation period where changes can be offered by concerned groups and the general public.


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


Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution license with thanks to Valerie Everett.


Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago

Maine can do better than this, can't they?

Jen Matheson
Past Member 5 years ago

That was *really* terrible wordubg. I can see why it offended everyone.

Emma B
Emma Blydenburgh5 years ago

I wish the question was: "Are you against same sex couples marrying?" or better yet "Do you oppose marriage?" -that said, I have high hopes for Maine.

Leslea Herber
Leslea Herber5 years ago

HINT. The MOB should NEVER EVER vote on the RIGHTS of minorities. Doesn't matter if it's those of a racial minority being freed from slavery or given the vote... Doesn't matter if it's women being classed as people instead of chattel and given the vote. And it sure as hell doesn't matter if it's about LGBT people gaining equality.

The simple fact is that these must be put in place because it's the RIGHT THING TO DO. NOT because the mob voted on it! The mob should NEVER get to vote on the RIGHTS of others. They simply should be included in law as a matter of LEGAL PRECEDENT!

for those who don't LIKE it or have religious objections... Keep your religion to yourself. Whipping out your religion is like whipping out your penis. It's INAPPROPRIATE to do in public. And it's sure as hell something you DON'T shove down kids throats either, come to think about it.

Canada got same sex marriage legal in 2004. NO votes were had. It was ORDERED so that LGBT people would have EQUALITY under the law, via the supreme court. NOT by mob generosity.

Barbara S.

Concise is better... You either approve of same-sex right to marry, or you don't. But since it's already been legalized, you can bet it's outside money and the Religious Right that's responsible for putting this on the ballot, hoping once again to sway voters to say, "No." This will take a Constitutional Amendment which defines marriage as an Equal Right between two consenting adults. Until that has been accomplished, no State which has legalized it is safe from the hate-mongers who think God wrote the Bible, and all the interpretations of fundamental preachers & priests are messages from Heaven.

Anita Wisch
Anita Wisch5 years ago

Why do we need to vote on our Constitutional Right to marry?

It is our right, and it shouldn't be allowed to be taken away by a vote!

Sharon H.
Sharon H5 years ago

@Luvenia...your comment has found a home...see James C's bigoted, poorly written and badly spelled comment.
And James...get educated. Pedophiles for the most part are STRAIGHT MEN!

Mark K.
Mark Kahle H5 years ago

Well... the trend is 33-0 against Gay marriage. So far every state that has voted has voted against this permit variation.

James C.
James C5 years ago

I wonder where there doing this sopposed polling because I have never seen one and I live there. But either way sont count this as a win just yet arter all the last governor tried to force gay marrage here and we repealed it. It wasnt that long ago either so why are these pedophile sickos even getting a vote again? Oh and there are many of us still against this injustice of trying to force a sick act on society as normal its not and never will be

Gina H.
Gina H5 years ago

Although I have no admiration for Summers and the Tea Pottiers Le Pig Administraton, sometimes simple is good. Especially in Maine which is not at the top of the list in literacy skills nationwide. I was born here in Maine and grew up in a small coastal town so no blaming someone "from away" for the comment. For most bible humpers here, it's really all about not letting us LGBT having any rights beyond being "cured" or euthanized. Luvenia V. you hit the nail on the head for the 30% that voted Le Pig in in the "you can't fix stupid". A word of advice to all Maine resident supporters... check with your local town office and make sure your right to vote is secure. I recently went to vote at a primary and found that they still had me down in the Green Party when I had filled out a form a few years ago to switch back to the Democratic Party. Since I could not remember the exact date and they had no copy of the form I filled out in my file, I had to vote as a Green. I also could not switch parties the day of the primary. Thus, I was unable to vote for any Dems and had NO Green Party folks on the ballot. I was told I could NOT write in a Dem on the write-in portion of the Green ballot either. It would be discarded. SO... should you switch parties get a copy of that form for your own proof. The GOP/Tea Pottiers will lie, cheat and steal to win or purge as the case may be in Florida and other states I bet. It only takes one dedicated fanatic with access to records.