New Poll Shows Marriage Equality with 21-Point Lead in Maine

A new Maine poll shows that "the referendum proposal to legalize same-sex marriage in Maine leads 57 percent to 36 percent in the poll, with 7 percent saying they are undecided."

METhe Critical Insights poll was conducted Sept. 12 through Sept. 16 with live telephone interviews of 618 randomly selected likely voters statewide. Results were statistically adjusted to reflect the Maine population regarding age, gender, region of residence and political affiliation. The poll has a 4 percent margin of error.

Think Progress adds: "Support is particularly high among Democrats (81 percent), supporters of President Obama (86 percent), college graduates (69 percent), and 18-to-34-year-olds (77 percent). While hopes are high that Maine could be the first state to legalize the freedom to marry through a voter referendum, the fight will likely be close, as the 7 percent of undecided voters could easily sway the result."


  1. says

    For the umpteenth time: Civil Rights are not to be voted on, up or down. Some of us seem to want to subject every f*cking thing to a ballot process. We will live to regret it!

  2. Disgusted American says

    do we need a SCOTUS ruling that actually says – CIVIL RIGHTS should never be VOTED on by the Majority??? Id like to see that happen!

  3. MikeBoston says

    Normally I would agree that civil rights of a minority should never be put to a vote by the majority but I think it’s cool in this case. We now have marriage equality provided by legislation (NY), by state supreme court (MA), federal appeals court (narrowly CA), and perhaps soon by popular vote in open ballot (ME). It covers all the arguments raised by opponents. What are they going to say next? That Jesus must appear in person to approve civil marriage equality? And I want to see Maggie Gallagher go apoplectic when the SCOTUS denies cert. in the Prop 8 case and a hundred thousand boy boy girl girl couples tie the knot in CA.

  4. Ken says

    Civil rights should never be allowed to be ELIMINATED by a vote. But every means available should be used to expand them. If this poll is correct it appears the folks in Maine made the right decision putting this on the ballot.

  5. LiamB says

    Actually, Rick, you are wrong. According to the court ruling legalizing interracial marriage, it most certainly is a civil right. Not that you have ever concerned yourself with facts in the past.

  6. Rick says

    “According to the court ruling legalizing interracial marriage, it most certainly is a civil right”

    It is a civil right for one man and one woman.

    I seriously do not see how any court can LEGITIMATELY rule that two people of the same gender can get married without also ruling that polygamy should be allowed, as well.

    If it is such a basic right, then how can there be ANY limitations placed on it? And what argument do any of you have against allowing polygamy?

  7. jakke says

    If having a handgun is a right, then what argument do you have against a bazooka being a right? How can you argue ANY limitations on it?

  8. Rick says

    @JAKKE Legislative bodies and courts can do anything they want to. But that does not make it legitimate or consistent from a philisophical perspective.

    In order to argue that same-sex marriage should be allowed and polygaymy should not be allowed, it seems to me you would have to explain why… a way that is defensible from a consistent philosophical point-of-view…..and I really don’t think you can do it if you are going to argue that marriage is a basic right.

  9. says

    Idiotic argument, Rick. If anything, opposite-sex marriage is the slippery slope to polygamy. The marriage of 3 or more people could be argued on its merits, or lack thereof, but no one is doing that. (If you want to, go ahead.) It’s a rightwing red herring, unrelated to the question of whether same-sex couples should have the same right to marry as opposite-sex couples. (The arguments against it are nearly identical to arguments against mixed-race marriages.)

    As for Maine, while some questioned the wisdom of going on the offensive and putting marriage equality on the ballot, if the risk pays off, it will be an important step forward and a sign that NOM can no longer count on fear mongering tactics or public bigotry to fill their coffers.

  10. Jay says

    If 57% favor marriage equality, how can the 7% undecided sway the election? If all 7% of the undecided vote against marriage equality, the referendum would pass with 57% of the vote!

  11. Javier says

    Banning same sex marriage is sex discrimination because it allows the government to discriminate against people based on the sex they fall in love with and partner with. Several courts have recognized that such sex discrimination is unconstitutional. Moreover, the Western world has evolved to believe the legal distinctions based on sex and gender are suspicious and should be disfavored. Likewise, courts and legislatures are increasing find that legal distinctions based on sexual orientation are suspicious and should be disfavored and subject to heightened legal scrutiny. Hints of this heightened Equal Protection scrutiny can be found in cases such as Romer v Evans and Lawrence v Texas. In essence, anti-gay marriage laws are sex and sexual orientation discrimination. Polygamy is numerical discrimination, and numerical discrimination is not recognized in Western jurisprudence as a protected class in the same way sex/gender and sexual orientation is. This is why polygamy has not been embraced or seriously considered in any place that has legalized same sex marriage. In fact, they are negatively correlated.

  12. Michaelandfred says

    In fact, polygamy has been brought before the Suprene court twice in the past and lost both times. The question here is marriage between two, or more, and the benefits to society and whether they can be upheld. But the court has ruled several times in the past that marriage is a basic civil right for all.

  13. Rick says

    @Javier As I said, courts and legislative bodies can do whatever they want, but that does not make their actions philosophically consistent.

    Here is the basic point: As it stands now, marriage is not a basic civil right; if it were, it would be enshrined in the Federal Constitution. But the laws re: marriage are, instead, left to the states. And, as is the case with most laws, the law as it stands reflects the social mores and beliefs of the people who made them.

    IF it were decided that marriage is a basic civil right (which is what DOMA is really all about), THEN it would mean that denying someone the right to marry more than one individual would be as much a violation of those basic civil rights as denying someone the right to marry someone of the same gender.

    Can the courts or society as a whole arbitrarily decide otherwise? Sure. Just as for all of history they have arbitrarily decided that marriage should be restricted to opposite-sex couples.

    My argument has less to do with what is politically possible than it does with philosophical consistency and honesty, which admittedly rarely enters the political process.

  14. Javier says

    Wrong, Rick. The US Supreme Court has already said that marriage is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution. That is legal, binding precedent. Further, the Supreme Court has stated that any law that treats same-sex oriented persons differently than heterosexuals musts have a rational relation to a legitimate government interest, and moral or religious disapproval cannot be a legitimate government purpose, and neither can mere tradition. The 9th Circuit stated that the government cannot meet the standard of rational relation to a legitimate govt interest, and other courts agree. The issue of polygamy involves an entirely different set of legal questions, precedent, and legal reasoning. For one thing, numerical discrimination has never been recognized as implicating a protected class of people, whereas there is court precedent for recognizing sex/gender as protected classes, and some courts, even recognize sexual orientation as akin to protected class. The distinction is obvious.

  15. Rick says

    “Further, the Supreme Court has stated that any law that treats same-sex oriented persons differently than heterosexuals musts have a rational relation to a legitimate government interest, and moral or religious disapproval cannot be a legitimate government purpose, and neither can mere tradition.”

    And if the Court was consistent, it would apply the same standard to polygamous marriages…..because, as we all know, if we are honest about it….a) there is no legitimate government interest in banning polygamy, and b) the reason it is banned has everything to do with religious and social disapproval.

    And that is what I meant when I said that Court decisions often reflect contemporary social mores and the pressures resulting therefrom rather than philosophical consistency.

  16. DaveL says

    @Rick. Philosophically, I am personally all for polygamy. What two or more consenting adults do, as long as no one is harmed, should be allowed.

    The pragmatic part of civil marriage though become problematic. There are legal issues granted and resolved in a marriage that are blurred in polygamy that are not in gay marriage.

    If it’s a single man and many women, what happens to the marriage when the man dies? Are the remaining women then still married to each other? Typically death does us part in marriage. So is the marriage dissolved when the man dies but not the women? We’re introducing inequality here, not reducing it.

    Who inherits the wealth of a polygamist family upon any members death? Split equally?

    If a member of a polygamist family is unable to make medical decisions for him/herself, who then makes the decision in the event of disagreement between the other spouses?

    There are many more pragmatic problems to be resolved before a civil marriage contract between multiple people can be fairly enacted. I’m not saying we shouldn’t do that for polygamists. Just that it is not an apples to apples comparison.

    With gay marriage it is an apples to apples comparison. There is no compelling reason not to apply marriage laws equally to gay couples as to straight. Plain and simple.

    And as someone else pointed out, the slippery slope to polygamy was any marriage whatsoever. Straight marriage. Because the same arguments you make for allowing polygamy apply just as strongly when there is only opposite sex marriage as same sex marriage. Same sex marriage does not advance nor hinder the polygamy argument.

    And as such the polygamy argument does not stand in the way of same sex marriage. Philosophically or otherwise.

  17. Rick says

    @DAVEL The fly in the ointment of your argument is that the reason the government decided to “sanction” marriage in the first place was not to encourage “romantic love” and coupling based on it, but to encourage child-bearing and ensure a stable environment for raising children. Many of the tangible benefits, including tax breaks, were related to that…….and because two people of the same gender cannot produce offspring except via artificial means–which can entail all kinds of complications, it is not strictly an apples-to-apples situation vis-a-vis opposite-sex couples.

    In fact, you could argue that polygamous marriages with children are much more similar to “straight” marriages than “gay” marriages are since they perform the same reproductive function that the former do.

    I have always been dubious about this whole “gay marriage” thing for a lot of reasons……it is problematic in a lot of ways and there are lots of other things that are more deserving of focus and resources…..

  18. Rick says

    My main opposition to gay marriage being legalized is that it will lead to a culture where more gay people will be out of the closet, and that means that trolls like me who can only get laid via gloryholes at roadside truck-stops won’t be getting any more penis.

    The more we’re accepted the more gay people live open lives, and that makes things harder for guys like me who refuse to come out.

    It’s problematic for me, and many others like me, who need anti-gay culture as a means for getting quick bathroom sex.

  19. DaveL says

    @RICK There a fly or two in your ointment as well. Don’t you hate when that happens?

    I don’t agree that the reason government decided to sanction marriage in the first place was to encourage child bearing. But getting into a debate on the history and purposes of marriage is too far in the weeds here.

    The legal obstacles I mentioned regarding polygamy stand unchallenged. They are not alleviated by including children in the ointment but rather exacerbated by them. If you are to split up an estate equally upon death, what if the wives do not have an equal amount of children in the family? Is the estate apportioned according to number of children? Age? All questions you don’t have in a marriage with only one couple.

    And the couple needn’t be opposite sex to have these questioned answered easily.

    Again my point isn’t to say there is no solution to these complications for polygamists, just to point out that multiple party marriage is far less apples to apples than same sex marriage is. So by throwing children into the ointment, you’ve made my point stronger that polygamy is a very different kind of marriage.

    Whereas same sex marriage is a minor variation on the same apples to apples theme.

    The extraordinary means to which same sex couples must go through to have children is not an argument at all away from making the comparison. Same sex couples have no greater burden in having a family than a barren opposite sex couple would and deserve exactly the same protections and respect.

    I’m sorry but you have no argument against gay marriage on the table here. Philosophically or otherwise.

  20. Rick says

    @DAVEL I was not arguing against gay marriage; I was only pointing out that IF marriage is considered a basic civil right, as opposed to a right that is granted by popular consent, if you will, then there is no stronger an argument for allowing it than there is for allowing polygamy.

    The issues you raised with regard to polygamy and inheritance rights could easily be resolved by means of specific stipulations in a will–it isn’t really that big of a deal. Custody of children would be a stickier issue, but it would be in the case of a same-sex marriage, too, if, say, one of the spouses was the natural parent and died, leaving the question of whether the person they were married to would get custody if their other natural birth parent wanted the children….

  21. DaveL says

    @RICK And I was simply pointing out the comparison to polygamy is not valid. Two party marriage vs multi-party marriage is apples to oranges. For all the reasons I cited. Opposite sex marriage vs same sex marriage is apples to apples.

    It’s funny you had to mention how “easy” it would be to resolve the complications in multiple party marriage. As if offering some solutions you can think of off the top of your head is answer to my points. In fact no, the opposite. You concede to my point with that. That you had to offer some solutions (of merit or not I’m not judging) MAKES my point. You agree there are additional questions. And none of them apply to same sex marriage. No reinvention of marriage law is necessary for same sex couples. Whereas it is for polygamy.

    And what you admitted to above in fact is a stronger argument against polygamy than same sex marriage. Same sex marriage is apples to apples. Opposite sex marriage is apples to oranges.

    And I want to reiterate I’m not arguing against polygamy at all. Just pointing out that it’s more complicated. So saying once you have gay marriage polygamy follows is flatly false. No questions need to be resolved to include same sex couples in marraige. Many, many will have to be resolved for polygamy.