Same-sex marriage (SSM) in Maine
2011-JUL: Reactions to the proposed
in 2012. Referendum wording approved. A story
about attending a SSM ceremony in Connecticut.
2011-JUL-01: "Reality Check program on WGAN radio discusses referendum:
Ken and Eliot, announcers on WGAN radio morning news discuss the proposed referendum. Both are supporters of marriage equality. Unfortunately, the coding for a video does not embed properly. However, it can be viewed at: http://www.myfoxmaine.com/
2011-JUL-01: Fox 23 covers the proposed referendum:
The local FOX TV outlet in Portland Maine broadcast brief news coverage of the referendum, including negative comments from a bystander and from the local Roman Catholic diocese. Again, the embedding coding does not work, so we can only supply a hyperlink to the video at: http://www.myfoxmaine.com/
2011-JUL-04: Fox 23 conducts poll on the proposed referendum:
Fox 23 asks the question: "What do you think of EqualityMaine's new effort to legalize same-sex marriage in the state via ballot measure in 2012?"
- 9% selected the answer: "It's a waste of time. Voters have already weighed in on this issue. Let it go."
- 91% selected the answer: "It's great. Public opinion is changing rapidly on this issue, and it's time to get on the right side of history." 1
However, the results are almost meaningless for two reasons:
- They did not indicate the total number of responses. Without this number, it is impossible to compute the poll's margin of error, and thus it becomes impossible to estimate the accuracy and significance of the results.
- Like all Internet polls, the participants are self-selected and probably do not match the profile of typical Maine adults.
2011-JUN: Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland reacts negatively to the proposed referendum:
Spokesperson Mark Mutty said that he expects the proposed 2012 referendum to end the same way as the Proposition 1 in 2009: with the repeated defeat of marriage equality. He issued a statement saying:
"The people of this state rejected same sex marriage in November of 2009 and should not be put through what will likely be another divisive drawn-out campaign. The people of this country have rejected same sex marriage in all cases where the issue has been put on the ballot; there is no reason why we should expect a different outcome this time." 2
He is repeating the often heard comment that there have been a total of 31 occasions when the voters in different states voted on propositions, referendums, votes on state constitutional amendments, etc. All resulted in a defeat for SSM. However, the recent defeats have been by very small margins.
- Proposition 8 in California terminated same-sex marriages in that state on 2008-NOV-04. However, if slightly over 2% of the voters had switched their opinion. Prop 8 would have failed.
- Proposition 1 in Maine similarly ended SSMs in that state on 2009-NOV-03. However if slightly under 3% of the voters had switched, Prop 1 would have failed.
Meanwhile support for SSM nationally has increased by from 10% to over 50% between 1988 and 2011, at a rate of about 1.7 percentage points a year. If this rate holds constant for Maine between the dates of the two referendums (2009 and 2012) then the new referendum has a high probability of passing, with a lot of hard work by the sponsors.
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network reports that:
"Mutty says the church will 'continue to speak out' against gay marriage, but he said the role of the church in any campaign 'remains to be determined'." 2
2011-AUG-17: Wording of referendum approved:
The Secretary of State for Maine approved the language for the referendum to restore access to marriage by same-sex couples.
It is titled: "An Act to Allow Marriage Licenses for Same-Sex Couples and Protect Religious Freedom."
This approval allowed EqualityMaine to start collecting signatures from registered voters. A total of 57,277 valid signatures from registered voters must be obtained by 2012-JAN in order to actually place the referendum on the ballot on election day in early 2012-NOV. 3
A personal story about attending a same-sex wedding in Connecticut:
The "Freedom to Marry" blog from which the above information was extracted contained a comment by "Vela". She made the posting on the day that she attended her first gay wedding/same-sex wedding/homosexual wedding -- she was unsure which is the politically correct term to use. We recommend "same-sex wedding" because it is more inclusive. Some marriages by persons of the same sex involve two gays, or one gay one bisexual, or two bisexual spouses.
She described her own opposite-sex marriage of over 20 years duration that produced a daughter and son. The daughter was handing out programs and her son sang a solo during the ceremony in a Congregational Church in Connecticut. She reminisced about some of the events during her own marriage -- how her husband "... made me whole again after our first baby miscarried; always spreads toothpaste on her toothbrush every morning and evening; hates celery; and when she upchucked on the way to the hospital to deliver their son."
She described the wedding service of two women who had been together in a loving, committed relationship for 33 years:
"My attention returns to the front of the church as our son
begins to sing. The mood changes as he smiles at the women and the spotlight moves briefly from them to him. The women, one a social worker and the other a successful businesswoman, prepare to exchange their
vows. They have been together for thirty-three years. They have crow's
feet, graying hair, anxious smiles and they appear nervous. They
face each other, holding hands and say 'You have been the steadiness
that has kept me on an even keel over the years, and for this I love you
dearly' and 'I am a far better person because of you and love you more
than ever.' Wedding rings, the same rings they've worn for
years are 're-exchanged.' The Congregational minister offers the
'May your lives together be joyful and content, and may your love be as bright as the stars, as warm as the sun, vast as
the ocean and as enduring as the mountains.'
How is this
wedding different from any other? To me, marriage has nothing to do with religion or God; it's about stuff like the waiting toothbrush and
the clumpy throw-up. Why should anyone be denied such love because of gender? Same-sex marriages might make some people
uncomfortable, but they can't hurt anyone. Are people afraid that gay
marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging
around tall people will make you tall?
Guests are teary, rice is thrown, and we all walk down the country road to an evening reception at the home of the women
I attended a wedding today." 3
This topic continues in the next essay
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Your Poll," Fox 23 at: http://www.myfoxmaine.com/ This was the current poll on 2011-JUL-04, but will be replaced by another poll.
- "Maine Gay Marriage Campaign Disappoints Catholic Church," The Maine Public Broadcasting Network, 2011-JUN-30, at: http://www.mpbn.net/
- Katie Garcia, "Maine Secretary of State approves language of marriage petition -- Time to get to work," Freedom to Marry blog, 2011-AUG-17, at: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/
Copyright © 2011 & 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2011-JUL-04
Latest update: 2012-FEB-02
Author: B.A. Robinson