A little more than 24 hours from now all that will be left in Maine are votes to tally.
Tomorrow the state could become a bellwether as the first one to approve of gay marriage through the ballot box. Voters who vote “no” on Question 1 will toss their support behind a law passed this spring which would legalize it. Those voting “yes” would uphold traditional marriage as the only legal option, joining 30 other states which have already banned it through referendums or constitutional amendments.
Whatever the outcome, two things come to mind.
The first is, simply, vote. All indications from polls and pundits are that the vote will swing a few percentage points one way or another.
The second is to make a decision based on the information at hand.
As you would expect in any campaign there have been plenty of charges and counter-charges back and forth.
One of the most bothersome came over the weekend when a school counselor, Don Mendell, who was part of a commercial for Yes on 1/Stand for Marriage Maine, had his licensure status attacked. That is simply foolish. Public school employees should be as free to voice their opinions as anyone else. Yes on 1 correctly points out the level of intolerance for public discourse this shows casts the other side in an unappealing light.
On the flip side, the San Francisco Chronicle — which covers gay and lesbian issues regularly and professionally – did a first-hand story from Maine. The story quoted a pastor who was recording a commercial for local TV urging people to vote “yes” on Question 1. He said the other side’s commercials portraying happy gay and lesbian families were misleading and that they really were “all depressed.” He then admitted he had never met anyone who was gay and got all his information from the Internet. Now, while I obviously appreciate the Internet as a powerful source of news and information, checking out a few Websites and calling it a day probably isn’t the best way to form an opinion.
My hope, and prayer, is that the voters of Maine will cast their votes with minds focused on the facts, their beliefs and their faith.