Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Opponents Plan to Flood Maine's Marriage Bill Hearings Tomorrow

Unite the Fight earlier reported that tomorrow's Maine public hearing information on same-sex marriage legislation had changed and that the venue moved to the Augusta Civic Center to accommodate more people. Details and RSVP info here.

One bill, LD 1020 to be discussed tomorrow, would repeal Maine’s 12-year-old so-called Defense of Marriage law, which bars same-sex marriage, while a second bill would make marriage gender-neutral. Both were filed by Democrat Sen. Dennis S. Damon. The bills affirm that religious institutions continue to have control over their own religious doctrine and teachings regarding who may marry within each faith.

You can view downloadable PDFs of the bills here.

A third bill, LD 1118, filed by Republican Rep. Leslie Fossel would create a domestic-partner registry while maintaining DOMA. This bill would provide "registered domestic partners have the same rights, protections and benefits and are subject to the same responsibilities, obligations and duties under law, whether they derive from statute, administrative rule, court rule, government policy, common law, or any other provisions or source of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses."

Members of the public may listen online through the Legislature's Web site, Legislature.Maine.gov.

The committee will hear testimony from opposing sides in half-hour increments. Individuals will have three minutes to present their testimony. The committee is scheduled to take two 45-minute meal breaks during the day, and the hearing will adjourn no later than 8 p.m.

Supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage have been trekking across the state, voicing their side of the issue.

As reported on Pam's House Blend: "The Kennebec Journal had (on section B page 3) a nice big photo of 4 young white men in white shirts, ties and blazers with perfect Republican Hair (TM). One is holding some sort of banner and the others a sign. Their sign reads: "God's Marriage= 1 man & 1 woman":

DEMONSTRATORS HOLD BANNERS AND SIGNS and wave at traffic in a traffic island at Memorial Circle on Friday afternoon. John E. Ritchie said the demonstrators were from The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, a Catholic group headquartered in Pennsylvania. He said that they were traveling across the region opposing proposed bills that would allow same-sex marriage. The eight men started their demonstration in the middle of the Memorial Circle but an Augusta police officer asked them to move to a traffic island.
This is why it's so important for many supporters of same-sex marriage to show up to tomorrow's public hearing. We need to show our opponents that we exist in plenty, too.

Equality Maine "learned that the opposition has chartered buses to deliver their supporters to the public hearing this Wednesday at the August Civic Center. We cannot let them outnumber us on this critical day." If you can, go! This is a very important day for marriage equality in Maine and for the country.

You can RSVP to attend the event at april22@equalitymaine.org.

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