To celebrate their forty years together as a couple, Ron Schwizer and Doug Kimmel gathered with friends and neighbors for a party.This is the part that makes my blood boil, but also points out the fundamental difference between the two sides of this issue.
But, Schwizer and Kimmel say the event is about more than their anniversary.
"I guess the main thing is the idea that same-sex couples have lived in Maine as committed couples," Kimmel explained. "They contribute to the community and should be treated as equally as any couple. We should be allowed to celebrate that commitment with the word marriage."
In June [UTF note: it was May], the governor and the state legislature passed the state's first marriage equality act. The law granted gay couples the right to marry in Maine.
"Getting the support, knowing we have the legal supports and rights even though they don't apply to federal laws would make a difference," Schwizer said. "I would have every intention of following through with a legal ceremony."
The pair decided to use their fortieth anniversary as a means of bringing attention to the gay marriage debate. About 150 people attended the reception Wednesday night at the Pierre Monteaux School in Hancock.
While Kimmel and Schwizer want to expand the rights of gay couples to marry, opponents of the law have submitted signatures to the state to force a "people's veto" referendum in November.
When contacted by NEWS CENTER regarding Kimmel and Schwizer's event, Mark Mutty, the executive chair of Stand For Marriage Maine applauded the couple for their longevity.So what are the basic characteristic of "true marriage" for you? Is it what Ron Schwizer and Doug Kimmel have? Or only a straight couple able to constantly copulate and procreate? I think it's much more.
But he was quick to add that their marriage does not exist in Maine.
"Obviously it's not true," Mutty stated. "The law does not provide for it in the State of Maine. Come the people's vote in November, that will be made crystal clear."
Mutty pointed out that in the past the Catholic Diocese of Maine has lent its support to gay rights issues in Maine. He adds that this is an issue of protecting the true definition of marriage.
"Congratulations to them for being together for that long and being happy," Mutty exclaimed. "We celebrate that for them. We just don't see the correlation here. The point is two people can get along and have a relationship similar to marriage, but it lacks the basic characteristics of a true marriage."
ACTION: The opposition is saying their campaign will cost 2 million or more to keep couples like Ron and Doug from marrying. Early money for a campaign is essential - click here to donate to the NO on 1 campaign!
Let's help the many other Maine couples keep their right to marry. Go to NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality and see how else you can get involved!