Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Maine News: Walk Against 1; Maggie Claims Marriage Equality Will Fail; Maine Pediatricians Hope It Won't; Uber Conservative Activist Quits

Another Maine News roundup post. So much to cover! (To get fully caught up, read the prior Maine roundup.)

Walk Against 1

Maine's NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign needs $35,000 to keep their amazingly extensive field campaign functioning. With only 42 days left to go before the election and the polls showing the race is in a dead heat, it's extremely important to keep the funds coming.

As a result, the campaign has begun a "Walk Against 1" program. Campaign manager Jesse Connolly wrote in an email, "Now, if you're like me, you don't have an extra $35 grand lying around--but I bet you've got a lot of friends, family, neighbors and coworkers. To help folks like you make a BIG impact without breaking the bank, we've launched our online "Walk Against 1"--together we'll raise money to cover all 35,855 square miles in the state of Maine, good old-fashioned walk-a-thon style (except we won't leave our living rooms)."

Here's how it works:
  1. You enter your name and your personal page text. This is where you get to tell your friends why marriage equality is important to you--and make your pitch for them to give.
  2. Choose a goal. Can you raise $150? $500? $5,000? Pick a goal that's ambitious but realistic--you want a challenge, not an impossible feat.
  3. Tell your friends & family about your page and ask them to donate towards your goal. Make sure to follow up with them after a few days, too.

The "walk" ends on October 9th--so don't wait, get started now! See an example!

Maggie Claims Victory

Speaking to the Washington Independent, Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage claims, "I’m pretty confident that, as in California, we’re going to win. We’re in much better shape in Maine than we were in California at a similar point. We were ten points down on September 1, 2008 and we won. I saw a poll yesterday that had us up two points in Maine."

Maggie also quipped, "I love the gay press. I really am impressed with gay journalists, as a group. I like reading the marriage issue in the gay press because they cover it as if what happens matters, whereas if you read The New York Times, it’s always about how this is going to affect who gets elected president."

Gee, thanks Maggie, but you can keep the smarmy compliment. Oh, and she doesn't mince words about the NO on 1 ads - they're not "effective."

Pediatricians Support Marriage Equality

This should put a bee in the "family values" bonnet:
Citing child welfare and their commitment to support what is best for children, physicians from the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) today announced their support for the NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign.

“Children who are raised by legally married parents benefit from the legal status granted to their parents. What is good for parents and families is good for children," said Dr. Jonathan Fanburg, president of the Maine Chapter of the AAP. “The Maine Chapter of AAP is opposed to the referendum vote that challenges the marriage equality law.”

The Maine Chapter's statement reads, in part:

"As physicians who care for children and their families, we are committed to supporting what is best for children. And there is no question that when their parents can marry, children are more protected legally and socially."

“Marriage equality is the right thing for Maine's children, and will strengthen and protect families who have lacked legal recognition for too long,” said Augusta pediatrician Dan Summers. “As pediatricians, we see how supportive parents -- whether gay or straight -- positively impact the development of children. That is why we oppose the referendum that would rescind the law that allows same sex couples to marry."

A national report commissioned by the national AAP concludes that the legal status that marriage achieves “promotes healthy families by conferring a powerful set of rights, benefits, and protections that cannot be obtained by other means.”
So I challenge the Yes on 1 campaign to actually put families first, as they claim to do, and save marriage equality instead of harming numerous LGBT families. Otherwise, anything short of this would be hypocritical. Wouldn't it?

Uber Conservative Anti-LGBT Activist Quits

Mike Heath, an outspoken and sometimes embarrassing figure for the right wing conservatives fighting marriage equality, has quit his long-held position at the Christian Civic League of Maine.
Mike Heath, the longtime leader of the Christian Civic League of Maine, announced today that he is moving on. Expressing appreciation for the League, Heath said that it has been a great honor to serve.

...His first test came on the issue of casino gambling. When the dust settled he was credited by his adversaries with having stopped a casino from being built in Calais. Heath went on from there to tackle the most difficult and contentious social issue of our time, gay rights. In 1998 he was on the leadership team of the first successful People's Veto of gay rights. In 2001 he joined once again with Paul Madore and Paul Volle to lead a successful statewide campaign against homosexuality. Since the early 1990s Heath and the League have expressed serious concerns with the prospect of so-called same sex marriage. Everyone laughed back then. Maine will vote on the issue this November.

No stranger to controversy, Heath is often described as a "lightning rod."

The board accepted Heath's resignation yesterday during a meeting at the League headquarters building in Augusta. They expressed unanimous and strong support for the forty-eight year old leader. Heath pledged his full support to the League.
Pam Spaulding at Pam's House Blend wonders if there's more to Heath's departure, given that the all-important People's Veto campaign to end marriage equality in Maine is ongoing.

Pam is not alone. Jeremy Hooper at Good As You shares similar thoughts:
Makes us wonder if there's more there to this. Was Mike pressured to get out of the way in order to help the "official" anti-equality campaign? Was he fed up with the way he was treated by the organized "Yes on 1" folks (which was pretty sh*tty, considering how much he's been a part of the marriage "fight" for over almost two decades)? Or was he really just ready to leave the makings-gays-feel-like-rats race behind?

We may never know. But whatever. God(who you deny to gays)speed, Mr. H!


ACTION: Also, for you Los Angelenos - there's an opportunity at your finger tips to help Maine! Vote for Equality hosts weekly Maine phone banking on Sundays at 10am-2pm until November 1. Check out the Unite the Fight calendar at the bottom of the blog for details or go to VoteforEquality.com.

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