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Ear to the Ground

Maine Repeals Gay Marriage

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Posted on Nov 4, 2009
Flickr / CarbonNYC

The expression “as Maine goes, so goes the nation” has troubling implications if applied to the same-sex marriage movement, although “as goes California” might be a more accurate maxim. On Tuesday, voters in the Pine Tree State overturned a law that would have legalized gay marriage.

One hesitates to read the tea leaves of these things, but the setback for gay rights activists calls into question how much progress has been made since California voters banned same-sex unions in 2008.

Of course there were a multitude of states that beat both to the punch, but none so ostensibly gay-friendly. This feels like another serious morale blow in the mold of Proposition 8.  —PZS

AP via Yahoo:

Maine voters repealed a state law Tuesday that would have allowed same-sex couples to wed, dealing the gay rights movement a heartbreaking defeat in New England, the corner of the country most supportive of gay marriage.

Gay marriage has now lost in every single state — 31 in all — in which it has been put to a popular vote. Gay-rights activists had hoped to buck that trend in Maine — known for its moderate, independent-minded electorate — and mounted an energetic, well-financed campaign.

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By Baronscarpia, November 4, 2009 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment

beerdoctor -

Church definitions of marriage have a lot to do with this issue.  Much of the organized opposition to same-sex marriage is coming from the pulpits.  The pastors of churches are arguing that “marriage” IS a religious institution, and by doing so empower themselves to label same-sex marriages as immoral and blasphemous. 

My feeling is that we should let them define their “marriages” in whatever way they want - one man/one woman, one man/many women, one goat/one Chevrolet Capri.  I don’t CARE how they define their marriages, and in fact I don’t have any RIGHT to question their definitions (unless I’m a member of their parish and want to press the argument from within).  I do care that the legal rights conferred by the state contract (civil union, or some other nomenclature) be available to any two adults who care to enter into it.  And I don’t care what the emotional, spiritual, or sexual basis of their relationship is.  Ain’t my business.

So all in all, I think we’d be better off if the state redefined (or more properly, “reaffirmed”) their role in all “marriages” as recognizing a contract between two people, and simply stop calling them “marriages.”  It’s more than just semantics.  We’ll never convince bigots.  But there are many people who feel uncomfortable with what they see as an invasion of their church’s domain.  They’re the ones who need to be convinced.  I’d gladly convert my “marriage” to a “civil union” if we could get past this.

And by the way…“amen” to all posters who see that putting people’s rights to a vote based on who they are is simply un-American.  What used to distinguish America from other countries is that we supposedly were constitutionally committed to defending the rights of minorities. 

Not so much anymore, eh?

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By Ed Harges, November 4, 2009 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

This is, frankly, scary. We’re not talking about Alabama here.

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By thebeerdoctor, November 4, 2009 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment

I simply disagree with those who want to split hairs semantically speaking, over civil unions as opposed to marriage. Marriage, as a legal term, is only recognized by a civil contract considered to be lawfully binding in a municipal state. Church wedding ceremonies have nothing to do with it. Recognized co-habitation is usually a prerequisite; thus if folks shack up with each other long enough (and note this does not even imply sex), they are considered married by common law. This has been the law of this land for heterosexuals, why should that not be extended to everyone else?
Face it, all citizens should have equal protections under the law, regardless of whether someone or some reactionary group does not like them. The history of the United States reveals that from the beginning, citizens have had to fight for their rights. First it was the poor white non-land owners, then blacks, women, Indians, and many others, have had to stand up to violence and cultural intimidation, to simply be included in We The People…

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By Timothy1119, November 4, 2009 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment

“How is it possible to put a constitutionally guaranteed right up to vote?”


I had wondered about this myself actually.  Is it possible this goes to court?  It is absolutely true that no other group of people in this country has the opportunity to be brutalized at the ballot box in the same way that gay people do.

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By PaiaGirl, November 4, 2009 at 11:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How is it possible to put a constitutionally guaranteed right up to vote?

This is a simple matter of equal protection under the law.

What next?  Shall we put a measure on the ballot to deny gays freedom of speech?

Whether one is gay or not, when one allows one category of citizen to be treated worse than another, or one allows one religious view to be legislated, we are on the slippery slope that 1930 Germany followed.

For all those whose religious beliefs are different from these “New Life” type churches or the Mormon church, you better step up now because you and your freedoms will be on the block next.

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By Timothy1119, November 4, 2009 at 9:09 am Link to this comment

We just have to be patient and wait for more of the old fucks to die off.  Given that the issue is GAY MARRIAGE, and that it still was a relatively narrow loss during an off year election when every religious freak who could be crammed into a church bus turned up at the polls all in all the only lesson here is that time is running out for the anti gay marriage people.  These votes chisel nothing in stone.

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By rondd5, November 4, 2009 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

I too am hererosexual, and I was married for 10 years (now divorced) it is fundamentally wrong to put these types of initiatives on the ballot.  What we are witnessing is the collapse of the american model (of democracy) as we know it.  Expecting people to make the right decision at the ballot box is problematic at best.

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By Kanamachi, November 4, 2009 at 8:53 am Link to this comment

It is outrageous that people’s rights are put to any vote, anytime, anywhere. It
is also outrageous that the press treats this issue as just another interesting,
but minor, story. We are talking about people’s rights here, not if you like them
or not.
What the bigots do not understand, and yes people who oppose your or my
right to live with the person of their or my choice are bigots plain and simple,
is that this selective approach to rights, that the Bill of Rights clearly gives all
Americans, threatens everyone’s rights.
Civil unions or whatever you want to call it, every marriage in the US is civil.
The church is not and should not be involved in this issue. The fact that people
are denied the right to freely enter into adult relationships, share property,
inheritance, enjoy free movement, and have the same rights to union
that so-called straight Americans who have these rights, is prejudice plain and
simple. It is wrong, disgusting, and the press out to treat it as the tragic story it
is.

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By Baronscarpia, November 4, 2009 at 8:26 am Link to this comment

beerdoctor -

I would be very happy to see states and municipalities stop conferring “marriages” and grant only civil unions.  Civil unions should be about the recognition of legal rights granted to two people who enter into a legally recognized contract.  Civil marriages do not, and should not have anything to do with sanctioning the moral, religious and spiritual pinnings upon which religious marriage ceremonies are purportedly based.  Those matters, and if you want to define those broadly as “marriage,” then “marriage” as well, ought to be left to religious bodies to define for themselves.  If they want to refuse to grant marriages to interfaith partners, for example, let them.  How they define “marriage” would then be their business.  But legal rights should come only with civil unions - for same-sex partners as well as opposite sex partners.

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By thebeerdoctor, November 4, 2009 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

Many politicians have walked the line saying they are for civil unions but not gay marriages. This is the same separate but equal rational that existed as established legal dogma before Brown v. Board of Education. Marriage in a legal sense is what this is about; whether a person’s partner, whatever their gender, has a right as a full-fledged partner, to participate in matters of health, habitat, and the dispensation of benefits and
property upon the death of their beloved.
Way too many people in this country believe that marriage is about a church, when actually that is simply ostentatious ceremony. Many enduring marriages started with a simple ceremony at the court house,performed by a justice of the peace.

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By Jim Yell, November 4, 2009 at 8:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My problem with gay marriage is I am not sure, in reviewing Hetrosexual Marriage, that it delivers the promised stability in relationships. So why all the rush to obtain this maritial bliss?

There are the tax advantages (if any) and the “sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander” crowd, which does have a point.

In practical terms though I think it will just enhance the income of Lawyers and not do a thing to advance acceptance.

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By Baronscarpia, November 4, 2009 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

I am a heterosexual male, married for 18 years.

These votes diminish America.  Democracy does not bestow upon its citizens to decide by majority vote which person should have fewer rights than another.  There is no provision in the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the “Bill of Rights,” which stipulates that the rights conferred by the Constitution are subject to the approval of a majority vote.

I find this is no less offensive than if I were to turn on the news to see a group of African Americans on an auction block.  After all, there was a time when the majority of votes in several states believed that slavery was moral AND legal.

Sexual bigotry will be the very last human failing to be blotted out in this country.  We’ll see an Iranian-American woman elected president before we’ll see an openly homosexual man or woman elected.

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