Adam Polaski

Maine Launches Pro-Marriage Equality Ballot Initiative

Filed By Adam Polaski | June 30, 2011 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: ballot initiatives, Equality Maine, Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Maine, marriage equality, Question 1, same-sex marriage

www.equalitymaine.gifToday LGBT advocates in Maine announced plans to pursue a ballot initiative for marriage equality in the state for the 2012 election. Led by EqualityMaine and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the Maine advocates are hoping to gain enough support for their initiative to get it onto the ballot. Although marriage equality was approved in May of 2009 in the state, a voter referendum on the issue derailed the law before it took effect. Now, perhaps looking to capitalize on the momentum of New York's passage of marriage equality, LGBT leaders are confident that a ballot initiative will pass.

EqualityMaine and GLAD would like the following question to be placed on the 2012 ballot:

Do you favor a law allowing marriage licenses for same-sex couples that protects religious freedom by ensuring no religion or clergy be required to perform such a marriage in violation of their religious beliefs?

57,277 signatures are needed to get the question on the ballot. Before seeking signatures, the Secretary of State must approve the initiative's wording. Read the proposed initiative in its entirety here.

It should be noted that a ballot initiative has never been successful in winning marriage equality for the LGBT community. In California, 2008's Proposition 8 overturned the state's existing marriage equality policy, and Question 1 in Maine two years ago blocked same-sex marriages from occurring. A ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage is planned for Minnesota, and one in North Carolina may follow.

IGLAD.jpgn spite of this, EqualityMaine and GLAD are confident. They have released results of a survey that finds support for same-sex marriage in Maine with 53 percent of the population. They have also amplified their efforts to make the public aware of the ballot initiative and the reasons for supporting marriage equality.

Matt McTighe, director of public education for GLAD in Maine, explained further in a press release:

In the coming months, we're going to continue to help same-sex couples, their family members, and their friends share their stories and talk about why marriage matters to them. We know that as more people come to understand the love and commitment that gay and lesbian couples share, we will continue to change hearts and minds.

Read more about these efforts here, at their newly-launched website.

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Jay Kallio | June 30, 2011 1:23 PM

I'm thrilled EqualityMaine and GLAD want to pursue a ballot initiative. It would be an amazing first should they win such a vote, although in principle I do not believe minority rights should ever be decided by referendum.

This is what achieving a win does; it creates MOMENTUM. Success energizes people to win more. In NY we accepted a deal that was less than what we wanted in terms of religious exclusions and took what we could get instead of rejecting it because it was not perfect, or full equality, and the result is a wave of renewed energy and enthusiasm across the country.

Trans people snatching defeat from the jaws of possible victory in Maryland not long ago, because of exclusions in public accommodations, was a disheartening failure. No, the bill wasn't everything, in some ways it was gutted, but it would have been progress. The headlines would have been a huge win for trans people.

Trans activists annihilating each other for disagreements there, and some trans people actually cheering the defeat of the bill was a political disaster. Instead of creating momentum and energy for further progress, and winning some credibility as a united movement to be respected and listened to, it was a crushing defeat. Energy for future efforts was lost, and nothing was gained. Not ready for prime time.

Then to listen to people cheering a further divisive failure in terms of the "death of the Transgender umbrella" is just so counterproductive and self defeating it boggles my mind. What an absurd waste of time and good energy. It is long overdue to reconsider this failed strategy.

I might have missed something but I'm thinking its whoever put this together that missed it. From what I read according to this proposed law a father would be able to marry his own son. Someone else please look at it but from what I read people were only banned from marrying opposite sex relatives. Personally I think the wording of this thing is horrible and its over done but at the same time doesn't convey a strong enough message or the right one.Overall pretty embarrassing stuff

I went back and reread the section at the bottom it clearly states what the top part confuses. I would remove all the top part of who can marry who at the family level in opposite sex attraction and simply defer to the bottom part which clearly states it bars both opposite and same sex marriages between those relatives. I think the whole thing needs to be cleaned up shortened and clarified.

Good luck to them. It would be amazing to win one based off the popular vote.