Friday, October 23, 2009

Maine News Roundup: NOM Tries to Squirm Out of Investigation; Catholic Church Contributes Over Half a Million and More

NOM Sues Another State to Get Out of Another Investigation

As I reported yesterday, the uber anti-marriage equality National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is yet again trying to squirm out of another investigation by pitching a tantrum aka filing a lawsuit.

NOM filed a lawsuit against state officials in California who decided, thanks to the efforts of Frank Karger of Californians Against Hate, to investigate them for their involvement in the passage of Prop 8.

Karger also led the charge against NOM for their involvement in Maine. Danielle Truszkovsky of the South Florida Blade has written an amazing piece describing the Maine Ethics Commission hearing that led to the investigation.

Now Kevin Miller of the Bangor Daily News in Maine has written a follow-up on yesterday's breaking news about Washington DC-based NOM's lawsuit against Maine and how they don't like the way things are ran there.
Now, the organization has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Bangor alleging that Maine’s financial reporting requirements are unconstitutional.

The lawsuit seeks a court injunction prohibiting the state from enforcing a law that NOM officials claim is being used to harass and intimidate opponents of gay marriage.

“The reporting requirements become onerous and burdensome, especially when you are working in several states, and are an infringement of free speech,” said Brian Brown, NOM’s executive director.


Brown argued in an interview Thursday that the reporting requirements — which include registering as a ballot question committee, appointing a treasurer and keeping detailed records for four years — are an undue burden. He also described Maine’s law as legally unclear and “patently unconstitutional” because it prohibited or discouraged free speech in the form of advocacy on one side of an issue.

He also accused the Ethics Commission members and Karger of waging a politically motivated “witch hunt,” despite the fact that the vote to order an investigation was bipartisan.

“What we are basically doing is filing a lawsuit to make clear our First Amendment rights to free speech,” Brown said. He also said that some donors to NOM during the California campaign later were harassed and threatened.
Mike Tidmus put it best on his blog, "It appears Brown will tolerate no sunshine in the Pine Tree State if telling the truth — the whole truth — and complying with the law makes his and cohort Maggie Gallagher’s lives more difficult … and expensive."

I have to agree. It's not very bright of Brian Brown to come charging into stay-out-of-our-business Maine and telling them that how they do things is wrong. But then again, Brown isn't known for being all that brilliant.

The Catholic Church of Maine Donates Over Half a Million to Yes on 1

The AP reports:
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has given another $152,600 to the group that's trying to overturn Maine's gay-marriage law.

A spokeswoman said the new contributions were transferred from a "rainy day" fund to the Stand for Marriage Maine political action committee.

That brings total Roman Catholic contributions to more than $550,000. That includes more than $180,000 from the Diocese of Portland, $141,300 from individual parishioners in Maine and $214,000 from other dioceses and bishops across the U.S.
This is mind-boggling. They have recently closed three parishes in Maine due to lack of funds (resulting in low attendance), but instead of using their "rainy day" fund to save them, they instead use it to strip rights away of fellow citizens because they don't like how they live their private lives.

What the f*** is a rainy day fund for if it's not to save your own churches?

Jesus taught that the two greatest commandments were, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:28-31)

The Catholic Church is violating the second greatest commandment and forgetting about feeding the poor. And don't get me started on speculating about where the money may be coming from.

I will end by reminding the church about this - "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:10-12)

The Lack of Logic in Yes on 1's Arguments

Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight has written a great post about the lack of any sense found in Yes on 1's arguments against marriage equality.

He's posted about the talking points that the campaign sent out and has paraphrased them as such.
1. The new law won't make gay marriage equal to straight marriage. Instead, it will create a new kind of marriage in which gay people and straight people are equal.
2. Although we may not have proven any connection between gay marriage and public education, our opponents haven't disproven the connection, and it's their fault that the subject came up.
3. If gay marriage is upheld, then marriage will exist solely to make people happy.

These arguments run from the literally incoherent (#1) to the sublimely unpersuasive (#3), with #2 somewhere in between. Yet, they are, apparently, the best arguments that the Yes on 1 folks can muster -- the ones they're using to close out their campaign.
He goes on to remind us that Maine is one of the least religious states, so Yes on 1 has had to hammer home the lie about same-sex marriage being taught in schools. He says this argument has been discredited. And it has. But unfortunately, the harm has already been done.

NO on 1/Protect Marriage Equality can still lead Maine through a historic win for marriage equality. GET INVOLVED!

ACTION: Here are the different ways you can get involved.
  1. If you live far from Maine but are eager to make a difference, you can phone bank from home. Sign up at Call for Equality.
  2. If you do live near Maine, go to Drive for Equality, where you can look for carpools in your area headed up to the Pine Tree State so you can volunteer and help Get Out the Vote!
  3. If you actually live in Maine, VOTE EARLY! Not only will the NO on 1 campaign see a record of your vote, it will free you up on election day to help get supporters to the polls.
  4. DONATE! You can do this no matter where you live.

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