Monday, October 17, 2005

Winds from Maine

As Patrick Henry did not quite say, the next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of Ted Meara and Mike Heath. Unfortunately, Maine PBS does not stream broadcasts. So, the second of three debates on efforts to repeal gay-rights there will not resound.

Fortunately, the Bangor News reported on the 30-minute rehash of the previous confrontation. Basically, Meara, representing Maine Won't Discriminate, was all reason, logic and compassion. Mike Heath, the front guy for the anti-gay forces, continued to try to twist the debate with a fear-mongering claim that if you leave anti-discrimination laws on the books, same-sex marriage will follow almost immediately.

He also pretends that there is virtually no discrimination against gays now. He both denies proven and recorded instances and on his unintentionally amusing blog writes such contradictory drivel as:
Oh sure, you know people who say harsh things about others. You probably know people who get in fights, and you know people who object to homosexuality. I guarantee, however, that you don't know anybody who lives to make sure "gays" don't have a job, house, food or credit. Those people never existed and they never will.
Perhaps he could put it plainer, a little hate, violence and discrimination is all in good fun, eh, Mainers?

If this initiative passes repealing anti-discrimination based on sexual orientation passed, Maine would be the only state in the region without such civil rights for gays. The public seems to have lost its taste for such schadenfreude, after many tussles. In 1995, there was a solid majority to repeal gay rights legislation. Then in 1998 and 2000, forms of repeal barely passed. Polls show now that the voters have matured since then and are both tired of the struggle and do not want to discriminate against gays. This initiative is likely to do well in the most rural sections and fail statewide.

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