Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Anti-SSM Mainers Loading

One endearing quality of Maine folk is their candor. In the Portland Press-Herald, for example, coverage of yesterday's announcement of a bill enabling same-sex marriage had the opposition talking strategy.

I'm predicting more than one go before this passes. A couple of anti-marriage equality types are planning their ballot appeal assuming it eventually will. I confess this is more civilized when all the cards are on the table.

The former Christian Civic League of Maine, now one of the scullery maids for Focus on the Family, and short on funds, wants an automatic rollover into a plebiscite. The Maine Family Policy Council's executive director, Mike Heath, said he wants the bill to include a provision of an public vote after the legislative approval. That's a kind of double jeopardy befitting the trials of Hercules, but he adds, ""If there is no referendum provision attached, I fully expect that won't be the end of it. I'm not prepared at this point to say what would happen, but we've more than once proven we can get the issue to the ballot if we need to."

The no-longer-CCL site doesn't comment yet. More than maple sap runs slowly in Maine. Yet, we should note that they have a long history of huffing and puffing, getting regressive measures on the ballot, and after much evil saying and waste of effort and money, losing in the end anyway. It had been a fair fund-raising system for a long time. After the last loss on gay-rights though, their fortunes have diminished considerably.

Just as candid, but stated in an unintentionally self-parody, the head of the Maine Marriage Alliance, Rev. Bob Emrich demands kneeling instead of healing. His group has proposed an unworkable DOMA-style amendment that would seem to void the state's domestic partnerships in their heavy-booted effort to prevent SSM there.

The Portland paper quotes him as hoping for a respectful debate on the SSM bill. Then he proceeds to say it is "really bad for society. It's changing the very foundation of our society. It's going to have a major impact on children. It says something about the importance, or lack of importance, of fathers and mothers."

There you are. He has your respect right there and is certainly open to fair debate, eh?

He likely has no awareness how absurd his statements and extreme positions are. Yet, he likely reflects one side of what we'll see and hear in the next few months or longer. No doubt the CCLers and Emrich's bunch are still smarting from getting anti-discrimination wording in housing and employment regulations.

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Anonymous said...

according to this blog diary (and links), there is already a pro-equality majority in the maine legislature. that is, if pro-equality means pro-marriage equality. if so, maybe it won't take so long as you're supposing?

massmarrier said...

Well, I'm usually the one that people accuse of over-optimism. Unfortunately, I see 1) a simultaneous introduction of a DOMA-style state constitutional amendment, 2) a wishy-washy governor giving the most timid legislators cover to punk out, 3) a strong effort to force the bill to go to a full plebiscite if it passes, and 4) the usual gang of anti-gay/anti-SSM guys trying to rush a ballot override if it passes. Those are a lot of harm-hinder-and-hamper forces.

It would be great if Maine leapfrogged NH and Vermont. I still want a solid New England for marriage equality, with NY and NJ right there. I'll hope for Maine, but...