Fight for Marriage Equality Continues in Maine

rsz_2maine_equalityProponents of marriage for same-sex couples received a huge boost over the weekend as the state's largest newspaper, the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, urged its readers to vote for marriage equality on Nov. 3. Question 1 would repeal marriage equality passed by Maine’s legislature back in May

In an editorial, the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, encouraged its readers to vote "no" on Question 1. It specifically called out the "scare tactics" being used:

"The 'Stand for Marriage: Yes on 1' campaign has struggled to come up with ways in which allowing this law to take effect would hurt traditional families. Too often they have resorted to inventing scenarios to scare voters.

The most prominent has been the charge that children would be forced to learn about same-sex marriage in school. All it takes is a quick reading of the law to see, however, that there is no mention of education in it. Curriculum in Maine is approved by local school boards, and those elected officials would be under no obligation to add lessons on marriage law to their areas of study.

But that's not to say that children would be kept in the dark. They are smart, and they should be expected to notice that some of their classmates have two moms or two dads instead of one of each. This is not a function of the law, however, it is a reflection of reality. A 'yes' vote won't make those couples go away. It would only make their lives more difficult."

The Bangor Daily News also supported the pro-LGBT 'No on 1/Protect Maine Equality' campaign. In an editorial published on Saturday, the newspaper emphasized Maine's longstanding "commitment to equality":

"It is hard to see how allowing more people to marry will weaken marriage. Instead, it seems the strong desire of gay and lesbian couples to be married, rather than declared domestic partners, shows the value and importance of marriage.

Voting no on Question 1 will reiterate Maine's commitment to equality and acceptance of families of all types while respecting religious traditions and beliefs."

Similarly, a new poll published in Central Maine's Morning Sentinel reported that support for marriage equality is edging out the opposition with 51.8 percent of Mainers reporting they are in favor of marriage protections for same-sex couples. Just 42.9 percent reported they are opposed to the legislation.

The poll, conducted by the Pan Atlantic SMS Group of Portland, also revealed that 61.6 percent of Mainers are not buying into the opposition’s claim that marriage for same-sex couples will be taught in public schools.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills agreed that the marriage equality law would have no bearing on what would be taught in public schools. In a statement released on Thursday:

“I have scoured Maine laws relating to the education of its children for any references to marriage in the public school curricula,” Mills wrote. “I have found none… The state’s definition of marriage has no bearing on curricula of public schools.”

Finances also seem to be favoring equality in the Pine Tree State. The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that the pro-LGBT ‘NO on 1/ Protect Maine Equality’ campaign has collected $2.7 million in donations, while the opposition has only garnered $1.1 million and has reported more than $419,000 in debt.

Maine Governor John Baldacci signed legislation extending marriage protections to the state’s same-sex couples last May, but opponents launched a veto campaign and collected enough signatures to require a public vote on the issue.

For more information about protecting marriage equality in Maine, please visit the ‘NO on 1/ Protect Maine Equality’ website here.

GLAAD will continue to monitor the media’s coverage of marriage equality in Maine. Updates can be found on GLAADblog.org