Maine gay marriage decision time arrives

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.

Be First to Comment

  1. PolishBear said:

    Once again it bears repeating that NOTHING is happening to “traditional marriage,” regardless of the outcome of the vote on Question 1 in Maine. For people who are Straight (i.e. heterosexual), nothing will change whether or not Gay couples are granted the same legal benefits, protections, and responsibilities of marriage. Straight couples have always comprised the majority and always will. Straight people will continue to date, get engaged, marry and build lives and families together as they always have. Churches will not be forced to marry Gay couples any more than they are forced to marry Muslim couples. Public schools will not have to “teach” about Gay marriage anymore than they have ever had to “teach” about Straight marriage. If voters in Maine reject Question 1, the only thing that will change is the legal status of Gay couples. At last they will be able to take part in the legal incentives for marriage that they have always been forced to fund through their tax dollars. There will be that added encouragement toward monogamy and commitment. Gay and Straight couples will at last be treated equally, as the 14 Amendment specifies. Gay residents of Maine will at last have a place at the table, and they will no longer be treated as 2nd class citizens. But to be honest, I’m not particularly hopeful at this point. The latest polls seem to indicate that Maine voters will approve Question 1 by a very slim margin. If that happens, how will you feel, Peter? Will it make you feel righteous? Will you take some satisfaction in knowing that those wicked, sinful HOMOSEXUALS will be again relegated to the fringe of society? Will the churches of Maine that rallied to promote Question 1 continue to reach out to Gay people with “compassion?” And will anyone be surprised if Gay residents of Maine find such overtures just a bit less than sincere? It will be interesting when the people who vote FOR Question 1 later look their Gay co-workers and family members in the eye and say, “Sorry, you’ll just have to go on paying your taxes and supporting marriage for Straight couples. After all, marriage is good for ME, but not for THEE.”

    November 2, 2009
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  2. ChuckGGG said:

    I agree Mr. Mendell’s license should not be revoked nor should he lose his job. However, his job is exclusively a guidance counselor. That puts him in a unique position, much as is the case with a doctor or a judge. I believe he should have publically remained neutral, but purely because of his position. If he wanted to work behind the scenes, then that is fine. I believe it would be difficult for a gay student to now approach him and seek his guidance. His credibility and impartiality have been compromised. You did not mention in your article that the “Vote NO on 1” people agreed that he has the right to speak and his job should not be in jeopardy. Even though I am a big supporter of the “Vote NO on 1” campaign and am from Maine, I have urged both sides to seek out the facts and not a few ramblings from various religious-only or gay-only websites. If this is done (and there is no real indication it was), I am confident the Vote NO effort will prevail and the law now on the books will stand. For the YES people, it really is very emotional and there is much false fear about churches being forced to perform same-sex marriages and children being taught in schools. None of any of this is true, of course, but there are people out there who believe the world is flat, too. Not much you can do to get people to comprehend the facts. I am hopeful the people of Maine will join the rest of the New England States (and most of Europe and the western nations) in again leading our Nation as they have done since colonial times.

    November 2, 2009
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