Gay Marriage | Maine | News

Drive for Marriage Equality Launched Again in Maine: VIDEO

Maine

Yesterday, in Lewiston, Maine, LGBT advocates launched efforts to get an initiative on the ballot legalizing same-sex marriage, the Bangor Daily News reports:

On Thursday, Equality Maine Executive Director Betsy Smith said supporters of same-sex marriage have continued talking to the public about the issue, working to change the overall public sentiment.

“We’ve changed hearts and minds during ‘No on One,’ and since then, many more Mainers have changed their hearts and continue to change their minds,” said Smith in a Thursday release. “We have been going door to door, talking to them and hearing their journey toward support. In two separate polls, conducted over the last five months, 53 percent of Mainers surveyed said they support letting gay and lesbian couples marry here.”

The proposed referendum question will read: “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?”

57,277 signatures must be collected to get the question on the November 2012 ballot.

Watch Smith tell it like it is, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. Why are we purposely having a vote on civil rights? Or is it suddenly OK if they vote in our favor?

    Posted by: Tony | Jun 30, 2011 2:46:20 PM


  2. Gaining rights, in any way possible, is the ultimate goal.

    I think this would be fantastic if it worked.

    Posted by: Tyler | Jun 30, 2011 3:00:40 PM


  3. Yay! Another chance to fail! Gee, I sure hope we continue our perfect record and go 0 for 32! I'm sure THIS time will be different, since:

    1. It will be during a Presidential election!
    2. Our current President is SUPER popular among repukes and teabaggers, who LOVE gays!
    3. Turnout will be extra high among Democrats who have low expectations!
    4. Our economy is SUPER strong, which always favors Democrats!
    5. The gays are gonna be SUPER optimistic about having another ballot measure, and will be extra excited about donating time and money!
    6. These polls have NO margin of error, and people who say the favor marriage equality when they are surveyed over the phone NEVER lie or change there minds when they are in the voting booth and not being monitored. This is gonna be great!

    Shoot me now.

    Posted by: K | Jun 30, 2011 3:04:45 PM


  4. Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight shows statistically similar numbers for both California and Maine to overturn current SSM bans via a 2012 ballot measure. So why is it that EqME has decided to go for it while EQCA is seemingly leaning against? Is it the $40M campaign in CA that scares them? I applaud EqME for having the guts to do it and to be out there talking to people, changing minds daily.

    Posted by: Chris Waddling | Jun 30, 2011 3:04:45 PM


  5. why are we having to BEG for Equal rights?

    Posted by: Gay American | Jun 30, 2011 3:12:01 PM


  6. We need solid legislation and COURT decisions, not votes from bigoted little shits.

    Posted by: K | Jun 30, 2011 3:48:14 PM


  7. The cost is one difference between California and Maine, the other is that a court decision on prop 8 could occur soon and give us marriage equality in California without another campaign. I've also read Oregon is very likely to have a ballot measure to legalize same sex marriage. I don't like the idea of voting on civil rights but we need to use whatever methods are available to achieve equality. If the polling looks favorable, I say go for it.

    Posted by: ken | Jun 30, 2011 3:53:36 PM


  8. And the phrasing of the initiative is perfect!

    Posted by: BillyBoy | Jun 30, 2011 4:02:08 PM


  9. This happened today, not yesterday.

    Posted by: BillyBoy | Jun 30, 2011 4:05:59 PM


  10. I am not in favor of placing civil rights to a vote, however, at some point we will need to go on the offensive in repealing various state statutes and state constitional admendments. We need to realize and understand, whether we like it or not, we will need to win our right through the ballot in some states. Otherwise, we'll soon run out states to enact marriage equality.

    Posted by: searunner | Jun 30, 2011 4:13:27 PM


  11. If this actually occurs, watch the catholic church mobilize again and again get involved in something they should stay the f**k out of.
    Happily, they were unable to to impose their church wide bigotry in New York last week.

    Posted by: lk | Jun 30, 2011 4:39:45 PM


  12. Civil rights are necessary precisely because they protect 'minorities' - people who are by definition 'unpopular'. So the idea of putting them to a popular vote is bizarre in the extreme.

    That said, in our ***fabulous*** system, it's how many states work. So, given that we're stuck with it, going after the popular vote in 'winnable' states makes sense. And I believe Nate Silver. Maine looks winnable in 2012.

    Posted by: dw | Jun 30, 2011 4:43:20 PM


  13. Here's why this is necessary:

    Our Maine legislature passed a marriage equality bill back in 2009, signed by the then-current governor of Maine, it was then rejected by a people's veto (popular vote). We currently have a governor (LePage) who would never sign a new marriage equality bill. By holding it to a popular vote, we can undo the 'peoples veto' and enact the bill that was passed back in 2009. Otherwise, it would mean waiting much longer. This is why it's being done this way -- and yes, in an election year it stands a better chance of going our way, since outrage (their side) motivates people to get to the polls, and indifference (much of our side) does not. More of our side will be at the polls this time than last time. The social conserves were already out in full force in 2009 because of marriage. Besides, 3 years makes a big difference lately. We only lost by a small margin in 2009. I like this.

    Posted by: MDK | Jun 30, 2011 5:01:18 PM


  14. So if this ballot initiative passes, does that undo the prior vote and make marriage equality legal in Maine?

    Posted by: Burch | Jun 30, 2011 5:39:26 PM


  15. It's not necessarily correct to say we might have marriage equality soon in California via the courts. It's only if the standing issue is decided in our favor that this won't be headed for the U.S. Supreme Court.

    That's a very dangerous risk, according to many. And many of those same people now feel, following the victory in New York that seems to have given Maine a morale boost, that marriage equality in California AND New York would be a better boost to a long-term national strategy.

    And there's a fledgling effort to get another ballot initiative started in California - because those same "many" want to prevent this from reaching the (current make-up) of SCOTUS at all costs, and want to be ready to put this on the ballot if the 9th Circuit rules against on the standing issue.

    Personally, I think it's beyond repugnant to put our own civil rights up to a vote, and I think the chances for success are only slightly better than they were a year or two ago - - but I also want to capitalize on any momentum we can take from New York, and I'm willing to put my moral qualms on hold and go back to the ballot as many times as it takes, in Maine and California and anywhere else (ya know, if the kazillions of dollars will flow).

    Posted by: Zlick | Jun 30, 2011 5:44:54 PM


  16. I actually think the current make up of the Supreme Court is as good as we are going to get for a while, the only conservative near retirement age is Scalia and I'm sure he has it written in his will to be kept on life support until a Republican is elected President. And considering Ginsberg's health problems, we could really be screwed if Obama loses next year. I know many disagree, but I beleive Kennedy will side with us and so I favor seeing the legal process play out in California.

    Posted by: Ken | Jun 30, 2011 6:36:50 PM


  17. For God's sake listen to the gays who have lived in Maine their whole lives and let gay MAINERS go door to door. In books, jokes, etc. people who were not born in that state are called people From Away (with caps). They especially don't like Massholes. They don't like Lady Gaga. They want their flannel, fishermen sweaters, duck boots and the like. They don't need Lady Gaga.

    They are civil libertarians at heart and would absolutely vote PRO gay marriage if it wasn't pushed by outsiders.

    Let the gays in Maine handle it. They can. If they're local and from Maine, they can do the job.

    That's all I'm saying.

    Posted by: Rin | Jun 30, 2011 7:01:53 PM


  18. Solid legislation was rejected by the voters, K. Alas. Civil rights shouldn't be subject to a popular vote, but in some states that's the way it goes. Referendums are heinous, but unfortunately they are a reality in ME, and the good LGBT citizens of Maine and their allies have been down this road many times before on other gay civil rights issues.

    Eventually they have and will pass, but it's an uphill battle since people seem to enjoy voting to take away rights more than they enjoy supporting them. NOM will be busy collecting $$$$ to fear monger and line their pockets with hate money, but our side, as Rin points out, is local and knows what they're doing, even if we don't always succeed. Time will tell whether bigotry or justice will win out this time around.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jun 30, 2011 7:33:50 PM


  19. I have some friends in Down East, small towners, local boys who have lived there all their life without problem. They said they had done really well getting their community on board with gay marriage using town halls until this huge coalition came in from Massachusetts (Mainers HATE them) and California (hate them less) and people felt that instead of the flannel shirt wearing gays that they currently had in their town they would get tons more fast driving, fast talking, swimming pool wanting People From Away moving in. They said thats when things went down hill.

    Maine is filled with UU's (Unitarian Universalists), not Catholics. There are some French Canadian towns like Lewiston that have Catholics, but this isn't an overly religious state.

    Its not religion preventing gay marriage in Maine, they really just don't want things getting faster and changing. Talk to the local-born gays there (who by the way don't want you moving their either because you're From Away) and they'll say the same. They want quiet, trees, flannel, fishin', baked bean suppahs, fried dough at the fair, the Lisbon Falls Moxie Festival and no Massholes.

    I know that equal rights should be instantaneous. I know that. But the real world is not that way. Just...be smart. Let local gays handle it, and they will at the local baked bean suppah, ayah!

    Posted by: Rin | Jun 30, 2011 8:28:50 PM


  20. They mean well, but it is too soon. Also, that referendum is way too long. Most people's eyes will glaze over about halfway through. Bide your time and do your homework (hint: public relations campaign, etc.) The time will come, but it is not now. You do NOT want another defeat to put the final nail in your coffin just yet. Trust.

    Posted by: MacroT | Jun 30, 2011 9:39:28 PM


  21. I don't understand why LGBT advocates can't resist the urge to push for a referendum. Why should I have to convince bigots to morally approve of my marriage rights before I get to have them? I don't recall being asked to vote on their marriage rights.

    This is especially ridiculous because the good to be gained is almost insignificant in the big scheme of things. If the prize was really big I could understand using a referendum or any other means necessary. But Maine's gay marriage is like a drop in the bucket, given the fact that most gays in Maine have no desire to marry and the few that do, can always take a short drive to Massachusetts.

    30% percent of this country will never approve of gay marriage because the church has brainwashed them since the age of 5. Places like Alabama will never legalize gay marriage of their own will no matter how many states get on board. In the end it will take the federal hand to move the country forward in a uniform fashion. This is what has usually happened on big social issues (slavery, interracial marriage, civil rights, etc.) That being said, LGBT organizations should be focusing their money on the federal venues: courts, congress, and the repeal of DOMA, instead of wasting energy on scoring small victories which in the end won't matter.

    Posted by: Mark | Jun 30, 2011 10:36:18 PM


  22. Maine is a rural aging state with a history of voting for antigay referenda and very active antigay organizations. Moreover, polls show very lukewarm support for gay marriage, which is always overestimated relative to the vote on election day. This will not end well.

    Posted by: Javier | Jun 30, 2011 10:52:30 PM


  23. Mark, you are misinformed. LGBT advocates didn't push for a referendum. When you live in a state with heinous referendums, the political system simply works that way. The bigots pushed a referendum on Maine equality after marriage equality was PASSED in the Maine legislature (in no small part because of the people some are quick to criticize here) and SIGNED by the governor. (Now, the anti-equality governor would veto any such legislation.) So, they had equality until a referendum took it away. Now they are trying to restore equality. There is nothing wrong with that.

    Like I said earlier, Mainers have been down this road with past gay civil rights legislation, and persistence pays off. They're not new to this. And what are you talking about that most gays in ME have no desire to marry? What a ridiculous statement. Taking a "short drive to Massachusetts" will do nothing for Maine couples who want to marry.

    It probably will take a victory in the Supreme Court to make marriage equality the rule of the land in the US, but you do realize that such cases are underway (with money already focused on them) and that each state that legislates marriage equality helps considerably to tip that eventual Court decision in our favor. Marriage equality in most NE states and in NY are hardly "small victories." They matter a lot. Civil rights don't drop out of thin air--they form out of a cultural context, and pushing for marriage equality changes that context.

    Those who criticize LGBT advocates should know what they're talking about before spouting off. Stay informed, people! It's not that difficult. Those pushing for equality in ME have done their homework. They live there.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jun 30, 2011 11:03:24 PM


  24. Sorry to break it to you Ernie, but if you think that adding Maine to the list of gay marriage states is going to tip the Supreme Court in our favor, you're smoking something (no I'm not speaking from experience because I don't smoke). Since we're on the information topic, here's one piece of valuable information: 29 states have CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS banning gay marriage. This does not include states that have garden variety legislative acts banning gay marriage. 29 is already more than half the states.

    It's extremely unlikely that these bans will be overturned by the time our cases hit the Supreme Court (in what, two or three years with the current DOMA cases in appeals court, would you at least agree on that?) So when the Supreme Court deliberates the gay marriage question, way more than half the states will be banning it either with constitutional amendments or laws on the books.

    I'm not saying marriage equality in Maine doesn't help. Neither is that my main point. Of course every bit helps. Of course every victory is good. But we're probably not going to get more than 9 or 10 states to legalize gay marriage before the Supreme Court weighs in. And at that point, it doesn't matter so much whether it's 9 or 10. What's going to stand out to the justices is that 40 or so states ban gay marriage one way or another. We should work instead to make sure they don't rule against us because of this fact (if anything at all can be done to sway the justices; they don't really answer to anybody).

    I still stand by my earlier point: it is a better use of resources to focus on repealing DOMA. The juiciest marriage benefits are federal anyway. If we win recognition at the federal level (better yet from the Supreme Court) Maine will come part and parcel of the package. Fixating on marriage in Maine is like going to a fast food restaurant and buying a meal of hamburger, drink, and fries by paying for each piece separately. It's a lot cheaper to order a combo: the drink comes almost free.

    Posted by: Mark | Jul 1, 2011 12:31:58 AM


  25. Make it my lifes work, NO NO NO,What part of No dont you frigging people get!

    Posted by: TR | Jul 1, 2011 7:41:11 AM


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