Today the Maine Sunday Telegram ran its major endorsement for the NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign. This is huge! It's the biggest newspaper in the state and includes Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal, and Morning Sentinel.
Limiting marriage to a man and a woman would not make families led by same-sex couples go away. It would just keep them in a legally inferior position that is inconsistent with Maine's tradition of equal protection under the law.Maine is setting the stage to issue a historical vote. Maine is the first state to have marriage equality pass through its legislature and not be ordered to recognize same-sex unions by its courts.
Gay men and women already live together, own property and have children, both biological and adopted. They hold responsible jobs, they volunteer in churches and schools – they are full members of our communities. The only thing they cannot do is form the legal partnership that gives them the advantages and duties that other couples have when they start families. The same-sex couples are not the only losers. This also puts their children at a disadvantage.
ARGUMENTS DON'T STAND UP
Treating same-sex couples fairly would have an important impact on their families, such as when one partner gets sick or dies. But it would not affect traditional couples at all.
The "Stand for Marriage: Yes on 1" campaign has struggled to come up with ways in which allowing this law to take effect would hurt traditional families. To often they have resorted to inventing scenarios to scare voters.
The most prominent has been the charge that children would be forced to learn about same-sex marriage in school. All it takes is a quick reading of the law to see, however, that there is no mention of education in it. Curriculum in Maine is approved by local school boards, and those elected officials would be under no obligation to add lessons on marriage law to their areas of study.
But that's not to say that children would be kept in the dark. They are smart, and they should be expected to notice that some of their classmates have two moms or two dads instead of one of each. This is not a function of the law, however, it is a reflection of reality. A "yes" vote won't make those couples go away. It would only make their lives more difficult.
At some point, all children recognize that everyone's home is not like their own, that different people have different values and that all families are not the same. Parents should not be afraid that what children see in school will eclipse the values that are taught at home.
Arguments that same-sex marriage would inhibit religious freedom or cause a flood of lawsuits also fall flat. The same claims were made in campaigns against Maine's anti-discrimination laws and neither of them came true. Maine has strong exemptions for religious organizations in its employment and housing laws, and the marriage law would not require anyone to preside over a ceremony in violation of his or her religious beliefs.
If voters approve this new law, it will be the first ever to be passed by the people. Or in other words, the opposition's worst nightmare.
Right now the race is neck-n-neck. We can win this! Be part of history! Get involved!
Go to NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality and donate and volunteer!