Monday, November 02, 2009

Maine Gay Marriage Vote Tomorrow

As was the case with Proposition 8, many of us will be on pins and needles awaiting the outcome on the vote in Maine tomorrow which will decide once again whether a mere majority of the populace can strip away the legal rights of a minority. Should the repeal effort succeed, it will again underscore that freedom of religion and equality under the civil laws is a farce and while making for good PR as the USA preens before other nations, claims that this country provides religious freedom for all will have been disproved again. Naturally, I hope that the repeal effort fails, but I am very troubled that this nation even allows a situation where constitutional freedoms and rights can be stripped away by a mere majority vote. As I have said before, the precedent is extremely dangerous and ought to terrify anyone who truly cares about liberty and personal freedoms. Here are some highlights from today's Washington Post on the anti-gay initiative:
Maine residents will decide Tuesday whether to repeal a law allowing same-sex marriage, an effort that has succeeded in every state where it has been put before voters. Public opinion surveys in Maine show a dead heat on Question 1, which would cancel the marriage statute that passed the legislature in May and was signed by Gov. John E. Baldacci (D).
Baldacci expressed guarded optimism Sunday about the effort to defeat the Maine proposition. "I believe it's something in the water or the air in this state that recognizes individual rights and anti-discrimination attitudes," the governor said by phone from Augusta, the capital. "It's more of a libertarian-type state than it is Republican or Democrat.
Questions about the largest contributor have sparked an investigation by the state ethics commission and a court battle. The National Organization for Marriage, or NOM, has contributed $1.6 million to Stand for Marriage Maine but has declined to reveal its own contributors, despite a federal district court decision last week that it must do so under Maine law. Some groups for gays say the organization is a stalking horse for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormons, which dominated fundraising in the California campaign. Many of the actors in a nationally televised ad produced by NOM, called "Gathering Storm," turned out to be Mormon activists.
Both sides said voter turnout will be key. Baldacci said the "No-on-1" campaign has 8,000 volunteers working Tuesday, "only 120 or so of whom are from out of state." "I've been encouraged by the canvassers and what they're getting for reaction," he said. Maine has relatively few of the socially conservative African American and Latino voters who helped tip the balance against the California law. But with the Archdiocese of Portland heavily involved in what the Maine constitution calls a "people's veto," Baldacci said the 20 percent of the population who are Catholic could swing the vote.
I sincerely hope that the forces for equality win tomorrow. Until the outcome is known, I will be a nervous wreck.

1 comment:

WranglerMan said...

I'm scared, too, Michael!
We are a republic where the rights of the minority are protected from the tyranny of the majority! I often wonder if the various Civil Rights Acts of the sixties were put to a vote how they would have gone.

Imagine writing discrimination into constitutions, which are documents meant to expand rights, not restrict them.

Sometimes I'm reminded of the 3/5 compromise. Am I only 3/5 of a citizen of this country?