Marriage Equality Question to Appear on 2012 Maine Ballot; LGBT Advocates ‘Comfortable About Winning’

A coalition of LGBT groups that have been collecting signatures in an effort to proceed with a ballot initiative to legalize same-sex marriage in Maine, say they have met their goal, Think Progress LGBT reports:

MaineThe coalition, led by EqualityMaine and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, has gathered more than 105,000 signatures from Mainers who want to bring marriage to the ballot in 2012, far more than the roughly 57,000 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. The signatures will be submitted to the Secretary of State on January 26, 2012.'

Said Betsy Smith, Executive Director of Equality Maine: "We feel very comfortable about winning, it’s the reason we made a decision to go."

The coalition is buoyed by polls that say 54 percent now favor legalizing same-sex marriage in Maine.


  1. enough already says

    They will lose.
    Their approach is the same as that of the sheep who all got together and passed a resolution that, henceforth, wolves were vegetarian.
    While putting their saccharine sweet ads up of two nice old lesbians and two nice old preacher folk and two nice old parents, our enemies are going for the low-information voters, telling them the lie that gay marriage will lead to rape of their children.
    Stupid, foolish, incapable of learning from their mistakes – there is no other way to describe the folks ruining things for us in Maine.
    Sad, because, really, had they been willing to learn from their mistakes, they probably could have pulled off a win this year.

  2. says

    If you think they’re ruining things for you in Maine, Enough Already, have you gotten involved and shared your opinion for how things should be done?

    After all, marriage equality was passed in Maine. That didn’t happen by accident. It happened because the “they” you’re criticizing now successfully lobbied for its passage. And, when there have been lgbt referendum setbacks before, Mainers persisted until they won the rights. Persistence is the key, and the heinous referendums give equality groups few options but to try again.

    That said, there is the question of how to go about it, and what sort of ads work and don’t work etc. But in a relatively small state like Maine, there should be opportunity for lgbt people and their supporters to offer constructive feedback instead of just blame.

  3. says

    Why do all these negative folks have to comment? Do they have anything concrete to contribute?

    Kudos to our Maine colleagues, who got TWICE as many signatures as they needed!

    Of course the Nommites will pour money in, but each time one of these happens people learn more about the issue, and the votes move in our direction. People learn. Once they understand that equality is equality, they don’t go back. Some of the anti-marriage folks will die. Some pro-marriage folks will now be voting age. It’s only a matter of time.

  4. says

    Why do all these negative folks have to comment? Do they have anything concrete to contribute?

    Kudos to our Maine colleagues, who got TWICE as many signatures as they needed!

    Of course the Nommites will pour money in, but each time one of these happens people learn more about the issue, and the votes move in our direction. People learn. Once they understand that equality is equality, they don’t go back. Some of the anti-marriage folks will die. Some pro-marriage folks will now be voting age. It’s only a matter of time.

  5. MikeH says

    I think they’ll win… but I also think it is inappropriate. Rights shouldn’t be on the ballot. I think the Senate Majority leader in NJ gave the perfect retort. Are you kidding me?

  6. enough already says

    I have, to the extent any outsider can, held a dialog with various activists in Maine over this for many years now.
    My background is not entirely useless in this matter, I was very active in the movement which succeeded in bringing same sex marriage rights to our country in Europe.
    Here in the US, I have been active for many, many years, putting my money where my mouth is.

    Since the Prop. 8 fight began, I have argued for hiring professional agitprop consultants and for putting out strong rebuttals to the lies the christians put out against us.
    Low information voters are our most serious problem. They are most vulnerable to christian lies.

    So, to answer your question, I’ve put my time, my thought (for what it’s worth) and my money into this. I participated in the useless (the results were already foregone conclusions) survey on what sort of advertising to hold. I fought, and fought hard with the idiots who insisted that Maine is special and nobody except them knows how to win.
    I insisted, loudly, that we needed to organize to actually get the college students to the polls. Was told that I didn’t understand how college students in Maine were totally motivated.
    I argued that we were not going to win against the strong French-Catholic holdings and thus must redouble our efforts in the liberal bastions. Was told that I didn’t grasp how much things had changed, and again with the “Maine is special, blah blah blah”.

  7. Rick says

    Probably not a smart move, based on the polling data. If the polls say that 54% are in favor, then, based on the California Prop 8 experience, that probably means that the real percentage is under 50%…..and hard-core right-wingers will most likely turn out in droves for the Presidential election in an attempt to defeat Obama, whereas many disaffected progressives are likely to stay home.

  8. downtownla says

    re: Enough Already. What’s done is done. The initiative is now on the ballot. Regardless of what you think of the concept of voting on people’s civil rights or the strategic thinking of the LGBT advocates, we all have to work together now to ensure it’s passage. I hope you will continue to 1.) offer suggestions on how to win this thing 2.) continue to financially support their efforts and 3.) reach out, as best you can, to actual voters in Maine. If you think and act like we are going to lose, then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  9. gaylib says

    In other marriage news, NC Governor Bev Perdue is not seeking reelection this year. This is significant because the anti gay amendment was scheduled to go on the May 8 primary ballot which Repub legislators thought would ensure its passage as there was no dem candidate on the ballot. Now the tables have turned. The Repub Presidential nominee may be a foregone conclusion at that point, and we should have a competitive dem gov. primary. That means more dems at the polls than repubs for the vote. This could be a huge turning point for us. Lets hope the professional activists still don’t write NC off as a lost cause. This changes everything!

  10. Peter says

    I don’t understand how ppl don’t want a public vot in NJ cause “civil rights should not be put to a vote” but that’s exactly what gap ppl are doing in Maine. Someone please explain the rationale behind this.

  11. enough already says

    The problem is not me.
    The problem is the people leading this is Maine.
    They have learned nothing absolutely zilch, nada, zero from their previous mistakes.
    I am involved, to the extent outsiders may be.
    I am donating, but not one cent to these idiots.
    We still have time to improve things. Here is what we need to do, yet the resistance in Maine to these common sense ideas is too high:
    1) Get the college students registered and organize the physical means to get them to the polls.
    2) Finally, finally, endlich, accept that by hiding gay men and only showing nice old lesbian people you are providing our enemies with resources to use against us. They are easily able to make the argument: They don’t show gay men loving each other because they ‘know’ that gay men are incapable of love.
    3) Start fighting back against their lies. This absurd contention that answering their lies is somehow to ‘lose’ the discussion because some seventh grade debate coach said so is a losing approach.
    4) Accept, finally, accept that the christians will lie and cheat and throw millions of dollars into agitprop aimed at the low-information voters who are not especially against us. Those young mothers will be so terrified by the christians that they will voted against us to protect their children.
    5) Why are existing laws and court rulings not being pursued by us in Maine to choke off the illegal funding by the momos and the child-rapists? Everytime I ask, I am told that this is not our concern.
    6) Maybe, just maybe, it might be of value to actually listen to the folks in New York who actually learned from their mistakes and worked together? I realize that Maine is special and people there are totally different to everyone else, still…it’s worth a thought.

    These six points are all items which can still be pursued. Fifty-four percent support is so low as to virtually guarantee our loss. This should not have been attempted. Having now been attempted, foolishly, stupidly, at least we should stop doing the same things which caused us to loose the last time.

  12. elg/edwin says

    I hope that if marriage equality loses in Maine this year that the loss is not blamed on people of color (i.e., blacks) yet again.

    The marriage equality activists know that they have to work, and work hard, for white people’s votes. They also need to realize, if they don’t already, that they have to work JUST AS HARD for the votes of the relatively few blacks in Maine. To think otherwise is a potentially losing strategy.

  13. brian says

    This will be the first time that the proponents of gay marriage will have control over the language of the proposition. Is it just me or does that give us a HUGE advantage?

  14. cranky1 says

    Noble sentiments don’t make for good politics. To rely on a poll to say you’re confident in winning is unbelievably naive and foolish. They do not have the funds or the expertise to put on a professional campaign or to fight the sure onslaught of NOM millions.

  15. says

    “I don’t understand how ppl don’t want a public vot in NJ cause ‘civil rights should not be put to a vote’ but that’s exactly what gap ppl are doing in Maine. Someone please explain the rationale behind this.”

    This is not being put to a vote in ME by choice. Marriage equality passed in ME. It would have been law except that anti-gay forces got it on the ballot (because ME has a heinous referendum process), and they won. Now, our side has the choice to fight back via the same referendum process or to do nothing and wait for another election or some court decision down the road. It could be argued that waiting is better than possibly losing again, and the best tactics are open to debate, but there is a history in ME of getting rights back via the referendum process (just not easily).

    If equality passes in NJ (and somehow gets past Christie’s veto), we’d rather it not be put on a ballot referendum to begin with because civil rights should not be subject to voter whims. (And other legislation usually passes without direct citizen voting–that’s what legislators are for.) But, if anti-gay forces get it on the NJ ballot and win, then the dilemma about whether to fight back via the referendum process kicks back in.

  16. Leo says

    The LGBT movement is kind of being hyprocritical of the whole ballot initiative. We argue against it in NJ but applaud it in Maine. We can’t have it both ways. You can’t say “Don’t vote on my civil rights” if you are certain you will lose but say “let’s put it to a vote” when you are certain you will win. Now anti-gay marriage supporters have ammunition. When people in NJ and NC states say you can’t vote on civil rights, the far right will just say “What about Maine?”

  17. Bakeley says

    I hate seeing LGBT people play the rules of a broken game. We should never, ever put civil rights of a minority up to a popular vote in America. Never. Not even if we think we can win. … It upsets me almost as much when we indulge the Christian Supremacists in the nature/nurture debate: By the rules of America, we should be able to live how we want no matter why we want it…. By agreeing to put this measure on the ballot, we only encourage the fallacy that voting on rights is okay. It will bite us.

  18. Stefan says

    To people who criticize the poll numbers and compare it to California, remember this:

    Nearly every poll in California prior to September showed support for same sex marriage at high rates (55%) was the highest I believe. After the ads stared airing and our side did nothing to rebuke them polls went down to levels within the margin of error. 54% is indeed a high number, and outisde the margin of error (in fact the poll which showed the highest level of support for gay marriage in Maine back in 2009 was at under 53%).

  19. BGKev says

    Please. The bigots are the ones who kept moving the goalposts. When courts said we should be able to get married, they said “they need to go through the legislature.” Well, guess what, we did, and then they said “the voters need to decide.” Any means necessary at this point. I say put it on every damn ballot every damn year.

  20. says

    Leo is right. Constitutional rights should never be voted on! Doing so plays into the hands of conspirators who are out to undermine our Constitution. All you advocates of marriage equality ballot initiatives, stop navel-gazing and start looking at the bigger picture: When these ill-conceived ballots lose, the implications are far more serious than you think.

  21. evolutionisfact says

    Big, big BIG mistake Betsy!! All you’ve succeeded in doing is energizing the rural bible humpin’ rednecks from central/northern Maine to haul their dimwitty arses of the couch and of to the polls come november!! All because of WHAT?!? Polling says that 54% of Mainers want us to have rights?!? WOW!! That sure is a lot of room for error huh, Ms. Smith!! Instead of sittin’ tight and waiting for the 9th district court to hand down their decision(which will be in our favor) you’ve now just fu*kin’ Guaranteed the whacko right wing MORE political ammo against us then they already have!! You went against the ENTIRE wishes of the Maine G/L community all because you want to make “history” by thinking that the half a*s hick state of Maine will just bestow their wonderful electoral permission onto us and let us legally wed. In REALITY what you’ve now done is to show the fookin’ opposition just how DESPERATE you’ve become by lowering us to THEIR level!! Good luck Betsy! I hope after YOUR initiative goes down in flames and sets us back a good 7-10 years you’ll think twice before making yourself(and us along with you)look like a COMPLETE fool!!!

  22. says

    “The LGBT movement is kind of being hyprocritical of the whole ballot initiative. We argue against it in NJ but applaud it in Maine.”

    Ugh, I keep seeing this comment. It only makes sense if you’re ignorant on context and history. On principle, many of us think civil rights should never be subjected to a popular vote. In reality, they are. Notice, the LGBT movement, unlike the right-wing movement, is not putting civil rights on the ballot to TAKE THEM AWAY. A crucial difference. Also, we did not start this fight in ME. The legislature there passed equality. It would be law today except the bigots put it on the ballot and won. So, now, the pro-equality forces can, on principle, refuse to participate in the ballot process and keep same-sex couples without rights (allowing the bigot vote to stand, unchallenged), or they can fight back as best they can within the parameters of the broken system. That’s the choice.

    But, let’s make it clear, seeking to deny people rights via the ballot is not the same as seeking to gain back rights that should never have been stripped away to begin with.

  23. evolutionisfact says

    Wrong “Ernie”!!! By utilizing the legalized lynch mob system(petitioning network) all little Ms. Smith has done is lower us to the VERY SAME level as that of our hetero enemies!!! Plain and simple! It WILL fail miserably at the polls and all it will succeed in doing is STRENGTHENING our enemies and cost Obama an important “blue” state that he could’ve used to help stay in office! make no mistake I personally can’t stomach Obama but hey, the nit wit’s helped us out MORE by NOT doing anything to try to stop us gaining our constitutional rights through the courts or through legislature.

  24. says

    Well, Evolutionisfact, obviously you have passionate and negative feelings towards Betsy Smith. I wasn’t commenting on her skills or motives because I don’t know her. I was only commenting on the difference between putting civil rights on the ballot to deny people freedoms and trying to restore rights via the ballot as a response when they’ve already been taken away that way. I see them as 2 different things. The wisdom of it is certainly open to debate–it’s a risk, and failure is a setback along with a waste of resources. Maine has a history of eventually winning lgbt rights via the ballot (after they’ve been overturned the same way), but the whole campaign is ugly. Waiting for a court decision and doing nothing is also a risk. That’s why I hate referendums and am glad my state doesn’t have them. I had no control over the ME decision, but since it’s been made I plan to do what I can to help it succeed.

  25. says

    This kind of matter is much better when left to the states Supreme Court. Had integration and inter racial marriage been voted on by the public, we would still be waiting for both to be legal. The catholic church as well as conservative christian organizations will be pouring a lot of money into Maine to spread misinformation about what the vote will actually mean to the non gay residents. The confidence voiced by the coalition is premature and they are making a huge mistake in voicing that confidence, it sounds a bit arrogant to me.

  26. Ken says

    Maine and New Jersey have completely different rules so it’s not fair compare them. Each state needs to be looked at individually to find the best path forward. In New Jersey it makes more sense to focus on defeating Christie in 2013 rather than doing a ballot measure, he is the only thing standing in the way of equality at this point. But in Maine there is no way to achieve marriage equality without going through a vote of the people, so let’s be proactive and have the vote on our terms. I agree with the stratagies in both states.

  27. evolutionisfact says

    The only “good” thing that I can really think of concerning this absolute act of DESPERATISM on behalf of the lesbian controlled MCLU(and make NO mistake, it IS lesbian only controlled)is that it can help to financially drain the whacko religious loonies who undoubtedly will be sinking sh*tloads of $$$ into this campaign! I find it quite hilarious that the oh so once “liberal” government of the fantastic state of Maine didn’t change(or as I desire ABOLISH)the petition laws of that State!! Just like in Washington state the ONLY reason the “democratically” controlled bigoted government(including that absolute JOKE of a Governor)are even attempting to legalize our civil rights in one of the most socially BACKWARD states in the country, is because they KNOW it will be reversed at the polls!!! Gives the great “freedom loving” democrats a free pass with the media making them look like the guardians of civil rights instead tossing it all off to the voting public!! How come these great “freedom loving” democrats don’t all get together and ABOLISH the referendum system altogether!! F*ckin’ hypocrites every one of ’em!!

  28. steve says

    Volunteer at phone banks, get out and talk to voters, donate money, share your stories with newspapers, family members, social networks. CHANGE IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT!
    As A Washingtonian who is doing all the above to win Marriage Equality in my state in 2012, I am standing with the GLBTQ community in Maine!

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