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Same-sex marriage (SSM) and
domestic partnerships in Maine

Support & opposition to LD 1020:
a bill to allow same-sex marriages

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Support for LD 1020:

In support of SSM is the Maine Freedom to Marry Coalition, 1 which is made up of Equality Maine, 2 and the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry 3 Maine Civil Liberties Union, the Maine Women's Lobby, and others. The Religious Coalition represents 140 clergy from 14 religious denominations.

The LifeSiteNews website referred to the Coalition as being "made up of various homosexualist groups." 4 This appears to be an error. According to the Urban Dictionary, "homosexualist" is a synonym for "homosexual." The Coalition is actually composed of a mixture of gay-positive, mainline religious, liberal religious, civil rights, and anti-violence groups.

Senator Damon, speaking at a press conference in the Hall of Flags, said:

"It is time to fully end discrimination here in Maine. With our traditions of tolerance and fairness, Mainers want to make sure that all couples are treated equally in the area of marriage. It is especially important to us that the children of same sex couples, several of whom are with us here today, can be secure in the knowledge that their parents are married, just like anybody else." 5

Mary L. Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director for Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) said:

"The protections of marriage are embedded in many areas of Maine and federal law. There is no way to replicate them privately. And we need to make sure these protections are available to gay and lesbian families who are willing to take on the responsibilities of marriage." 5

Elinor Goldberg, Executive Director of Maine Children's Alliance said:

"Excluding same-sex couples from marriage harms thousands of same-sex families living throughout Maine. It's bad for parents, and it's bad for children. We know the importance of the security that comes to the children whose parents have the financial and health insurance benefits of marriage." 5

Rev. Mark Doty, pastor at the Hammond Street Congregational Church, said:

"We feel a moral obligation at this pivotal time to raise our voices on behalf of Mainers who are denied that most basic human right -- the right to marry and form a family with the person of their choice." 3

The Rev. Don Rudalevige of Cape Elizabeth, a retired United Methodist minister, issued a press release for the Religious Coalition which said in part:

"We want to build on Maine's tradition of equal treatment and fairness. With momentum in New England clearly moving toward equality and inclusion, now is the time to move this conversation forward." 6

The Rev. Dr. Mykel Johnson, minister at the Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church in Portland, said:

"We cannot stand by while families in our congregations and communities are at unnecessary risk. We are not only talking about legal and financial benefits, but also the dignity, social recognition and support that marriage brings families." 6

Shenna Bellows, Executive Director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union said:

"The breadth of support for this bill demonstrates that Mainers value fairness. All loving, committed couples deserve the dignity and respect, as well as the legal rights and obligations, that civil marriage brings." 5

Carla Hopkins was present with her partner Victoria Eleftheriou and their son, Eli. She said:

"Victoria and I want to get married because we're committed to spending the rest of our lives together and we want our son to have the legal security of having married parents. Every day, we worry that if something happens to one of us, the other person would have a tough time providing for our son." 5

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Opposition to the SSM bill:

Opposition is led by the Main Marriage Alliance, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, and the Maine Family Policy Council (formerly called the Christian Civic League of Maine).

They have indicated that Rep. Josh Tardy (R) is planning to submit a bill to converting the existing DOMA bill into a constitutional amendment. He said:

"The gay rights organizations in the state and in New England have made it very clear that ... [ending the prohibition on homosexual marriage] is their desire, and that they have listed enough legislators as what they call marriage-friendly. According to their claim, they have enough already on their side to overturn the law."

The fundamentalist Christian Family Research Council (FRC) organized a "Stand for Marriage" meeting at the Augusta Civic Center. The FRC estimated that close to 1,000 people turned out -- about 5% of the population of Augusta, ME. FRC president Tony Perkins said:

"Every time people in a state (have) the ability to speak out they say marriage should be a union between a man and woman. ... There's enthusiasm and passion of great leaders here that I think are ready to lead this battle. ... Marriage benefits society. It's about training up the next generation. We're here not motivated by anger or hate. We're here because we care. We care about families and children in Maine. And the protesters. We care about them as well. Those folks trying to redefine marriage are not our enemies." 7

Some marriage equality supporters were present at the walkway leading into the Civic Center. They quietly held lighted candles.

Michael Heath of the Maine Family Policy Council said this is a moment of crisis and that people need to join a cooperative effort to keep loving, committed same-sex couples from marrying. He said that a family created by an opposite-sex married couple is the basic building block of society and exists for procreation. It is not clear whether his group plans to ban the marriage of opposite-sex couples who are infertile and/or elderly, and/or not planning to have children. He said that same-sex couples want to impose immorality on the institution of marriage.

Referring to Equality Maine and similar groups who seeking equal marriage rights for all couples, he said that same-sex couples are really seeking special rights. He said: "We are for equal rights, not special rights."

It is not clear how giving special marriage rights to couples consisting of one man and one woman while preventing two men or two women from marrying generates equal rights for all. 7

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. The Maine Freedom to Marry Coalition's website is at:
  2. Equality Main's home page is at:
  3. The Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry has a web site at:
  4. Thaddeus M. Baklinski, "Bill to Allow Homosexual 'Marriage' in Maine to Be Introduced," Life Site News, 2009-JAN-13, at: [LifeSiteNews and other conservative religious groups generally place the word marriage in quotation marks when it refers to SSM. This is to denigrate the concept of SSM]
  5. Maine Freedom to Marry Coalition, "Civil Marriage Legislation Submitted to Maine Legislature," 2008-JAN-13, Magic City Morning Star, at:
  6. "Uncle Remus," "Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry in Maine," 2009-JAN-14, at:
  7. Mechele Cooper, "AUGUSTA Marriage rally sees big crowd," Kennebeck Journal, 2009-FEB-16, at:

Copyright 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2009-JAN-14
Latest update: 2009-MAR-27
Author: B.A. Robinson

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