Monday, October 19, 2009

No on 1 Calls for An End to Distortions and Attacks: House Speaker, Former Maine AG Join Effort

Recently, Maine's Attorney General Janet Mills issued a legal opinion that the state's new marriage equality law will not demand that same-sex marriage be taught in schools, a war cry often repeated by the anti-LGBT Yes on 1 Campaign. In response, the campaign issued a vicious statement against the AG, calling her opinion biased. Today, the NO on 1 campaign issued this response.

Portland, Maine (Monday, October 19, 2009)---Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives Hannah Pingree and Jim Tierney, Director of the National State Attorney General Program at Columbia Law School and Attorney General of Maine (1980-1990) joined the NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign in refuting the latest Question 1 campaign ad and calling for an end to the distortions and misrepresentations that have characterized that campaign.

Speaker Pingree said that she felt especially compelled to support Maine Attorney General Janet Mills and Maine Commissioner of Education Susan Gendron after the Question 1 campaign blasted both officials and questioned their professional integrity. The Question 1 campaign assault followed Commissioner Gendron’s decision to seek a formal legal opinion from the Attorney General regarding that campaign's ongoing claims that the new marriage equality law would impact school curriculum. In her Oct. 15th opinion, Attorney General Mills rejected those claims.

“What troubles me most is that the Question 1 campaign doesn’t want to believe those of us in Maine who take our public service seriously,” said Speaker Pingree. “The commissioner did the right thing by seeking an opinion from Maine's top legal officer on these non-stop claims. But when they didn’t get the answer they wanted, the Question 1 campaign attacked the messenger rather than finally acknowledging the inaccuracy and harm caused by this non-ending barrage.”

The Question 1 campaign also launched yet another new campaign ad this weekend making the same unfounded links between marriage equality and schools even though every expert in Maine has rejected those claims.

“While I understand and respect there will be sincere disagreements about marriage equality and Question 1, voters should make their decision on their own personal experiences and their heart,” said Tierney. “I have done that and will be voting ‘no.’ This is not a time for the views of dueling law professors and distorted television commercials. This is time for an honest exchange of views. When all this is over, we will all still be going to the same churches, living in the same communities and sharing each others’ futures. Maine has a lot at stake in the decades ahead and it makes no sense to darken those years now by believing personal attacks on our fellow citizens.”

“The problem simply is that the Question 1 campaign doesn't believe anyone in Maine,” said NO on 1 Campaign Manager Jesse Connolly. “They've gone after a Maine teacher of the year for supporting equality, and now they believe they know more about our schools that the people in charge of education in Maine, and they know more about the law than the Attorney General elected to enforce those laws.

“We remain confident that in the end, with all this evidence and the support from Maine's two largest newspapers which also denounced these tactics, voters will decide to treat all loving couples in Maine equally under the law and vote NO on Question 1,” added Connolly.

Got to NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality and get involved!

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