Great press release from NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality.
Bangor, Maine (October 27, 2009) – Governor John E. Baldacci together with Maine families and volunteers including area legislators and elected officials gathered today at the home of Sally Dobres in Bangor to urge Maine people to vote NO on Question 1.
"In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions," Governor Baldacci said. "I came to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage."
"The law guarantees that Maine citizens will be treated equally under Maine's civil marriage laws, and that is the responsibility of government. The law does not force any religion to recognize a marriage that falls outside of its beliefs. It does not require the church to perform any ceremony with which it disagrees. Instead, it reaffirms the separation of Church and State," Governor Baldacci said.
"This is an emotional issue that touches deeply many of our most important ideals and traditions. There are good, earnest and honest people on both sides of the question," continued Governor Baldacci. “I did not come to my decision lightly or in haste. My responsibility as Governor is to uphold the Constitution and do, as best as possible, what is right. I believe that signing the legislation was the right thing to do.”
The event marks the beginning of the NO on 1 Campaign’s Get-Out-the-Vote program with thousands of volunteers all across the state contacting family, friends and neighbors to remind them to vote NO on Question 1.
Governor Baldacci recognized the tireless work of campaign volunteers, encouraging them to continue their efforts through November 3. He also recognized several area legislators present at the event and commended them on their thoughtful deliberations of the issue.
Although unable to attend the event, State Senator Chris Rector offered the following comments, “I voted for the marriage equality bill because it was clear that my constituents supported it. I also came to believe that it was the right thing to do for the state of Maine. The law should treat all Mainers equally, it’s that simple. I hope the law the Legislature passed is upheld on Nov 3rd.”
Ray and Connie Winship, retired teachers who live in Fairfield and currently co-chair the Waterville Universalist Unitarian Church Welcoming Congregation Program said their commitment to equality began in 1993.
“We’ve been speaking out all these years and will continue to speak out because we want Maine people to know that discrimination happens and we want them to know how much it hurts the victims and their families,” said Ray Winship. “Let’s prove, once and for all, that Maine won’t discriminate,” added Connie Winship.
Bev and Sue Uhlenhake, who have a one-year-old son, are disheartened by the challenge to the marriage equality law. Both women grew up believing that marriage is the foundation of a family and want that strong foundation for their own family. She believes that the vote is all about children.
“This vote IS about my child. Marriage equality will absolutely affect him. He deserves the right to have parents who are more than legal strangers. He deserves married parents, and that’s what I’m asking my fellow citizens of Maine to make happen today. It is now time to say NO. Say NO to inequality. Say NO to discrimination. Say NO to Question 1,” said Bev Uhlenhake.
According to NO on 1 Campaign manager Jesse Connolly, the Get-Out-the-Vote effort over the next seven days will involve thousands of volunteers across the state who will talk with friends and neighbors, staff phone bank operations, and knock on doors reminding supporters to vote NO on 1 for equality and fairness for all Maine families.
"The key to winning this election is getting our supporters out to vote. This is a true grassroots effort and we continue to be overwhelmed by the level of support and energy," said Connolly. "Mainers have dug deep, whether that's manning extra nights at our phone banks, double shifts knocking on doors, or writing another check.”