Thursday, June 18, 2009

Outlanders Ordered to Maine

How gullible or stupid are Mainers? Those I knew who grew up there can disparage the locals, but it's hard to believe they'll buy the bull shoveled at them in the drive to overturn same-sex marriage.

An excellent recap of the current machinations appears in today's Press Herald. A big point is that with typical hypocrisy, the anti-equality forces will throw every outside resource they can into the battle. This is precisely what they say is a major sin of progressives and pro-LBGT types.

After a season of staccato losses deafening the nation to their panicked shrieks, the anti folk seem determined to delay SSM from becoming reality there. In that effort, they first hired the California public-relations shop that ran the successful Prop. 8 campaign there to stop gay marriages. This is the same group who produced the nonsensical ads of confused little kids saying that even hearing about same-sex couples was just too much for their little brains.

Moreover, the anti-gay leader, National Organization for Marriage, primed the pump with $60,000 to one local group, Stand for Marriage Maine. The latter group has hired Hessians professional signature gatherers, Michigan's National Petition Management, for $45,000.

If so much wasn't at stake, that sig-drive move would be amusing. The bar for such a Maine People's Veto requires just under 56,000 signatures gathered by the middle of September. Even in a low-population state, that's an extremely low number. You would suppose that if Mainers were against SSM, they wouldn't need outside money and foot soldiers to take this minimal step.

The Press Herald quoted lonely Equality Maine as saying they'd be ready for this battle. At this point, they are clearly outgunned and outspent. They'd likely have to rely on real Mainers to defend the law that the legislature passed and governor signed after much public testimony and debate. They do at least have a contribute page on their website.

It remains to be seen if their academic expert is right that the anti-equality effort may backfire. University of Maine's Amy Fried thinks the locals won't like the outlanders' messing with their business. The political science professor said,"It shows that the national organizations opposed to marriage equality see Maine as an important place to take a stand. It will be getting national attention; this will be watched around the country."

However, she added, People in Maine do not like what they might see as outside interference. We have our own political culture, we have a high degree of civility, a high degree of civic engagement."

Progressives should not leave this to chance. The slick and dishonest PR used in the Prop. 8 drive did fool a lot of people, enough to edge the vote. While not long ago, Mainers refused to buy similar tactics to overturn gay-rights legislation at the ballot, the foreigners are throwing money and people at Maine. They may figure the locals are too ignorant or stupid to think for themselves. Presenting both sides of this story will require money for the good guys as well.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No gay marriages, please. Leave Hetero institutions alone.