Sunday, November 01, 2009

Maine: No on 1

Like their counterparts in Washington, Maine's residents will have an opportunity to affirm or reject the rights that state's legislature and governor have provided to Maine's gay and lesbian community but while the opposing camps in Washington are battling over domestic partnerships that read like civil unions, the opponents in Maine are battling over marriage, as well as the rights that it entails.

Before Governor John Baldacci (I-Maine) signed Maine's marriage bill into law, gays and lesbians who entered into relationships were given limited domestic partnership rights that included the same health care proxy and visitation rights referred to in prior post as well as some probate rights. Those are not being challenged by the "Yes on 1" people's veto campaign. Nevertheless, residents in Maine should vote "No on 1" for the same reason Washington's residents should vote for Referendum 71. Granting Maine's gay and lesbian Americans marriage rights will mean granting them all of the rights that they are currently deprived of now.

Those who oppose Maine's inclusive gay marriage law say teachers will use it to teach about homosexuality in Maine's public schools. They point to one case where Massachusetts' inclusive gay marriage law and another case in California's Alameda County to do just that. They have a problem with the facts. Maine, like California, leaves these matters within the hands of each school district so the conservative leaning school districts won't be forced to change their school curriculum to promote homosexuality. Liberal school districts, however, won't be deterred from implementing their anti-bullying programs if Maine's voters reject gay marriage. California's Alameda County promotes tolerance even though California's passed a constitutional amendment overturning that state's inclusive gay marriage law.

Voters should reject the fear-mongering their Catholic leaders are engaging in and affirm the right of all residents to care for their loved ones without any hindrances from the state.

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