Same-sex marriage (SSM) and
domestic partnerships in Maine
Support & opposition to LD 1020:
a bill to
allow same-sex marriages
Support for LD 1020:
In support of SSM is the Maine Freedom to Marry Coalition,
which is made up of Equality Maine, 2 and the
Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry 3
Maine Civil Liberties Union, the Maine Women's Lobby, and others. The
Religious Coalition represents 140
clergy from 14 religious denominations.
The LifeSiteNews website referred to the
Coalition as being "made up of various homosexualist groups."
4 This appears to be
an error. According to the Urban Dictionary, "homosexualist" is a synonym for
"homosexual." The Coalition is actually composed of a mixture of gay-positive, mainline religious,
liberal religious, civil rights, and anti-violence groups.
Senator Damon, speaking at a press conference in the Hall of Flags, said:
"It is time to fully end discrimination here in Maine. With our traditions
of tolerance and fairness, Mainers want to make sure that all couples are
treated equally in the area of marriage. It is especially important to us that
the children of same sex couples, several of whom are with us here today, can
be secure in the knowledge that their parents are married, just like anybody
Mary L. Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director for Gay and Lesbian Advocates
and Defenders (GLAD) said:
"The protections of marriage are embedded in many areas of Maine and
federal law. There is no way to replicate them privately. And we need to make
sure these protections are available to gay and lesbian families who are
willing to take on the responsibilities of marriage."
Elinor Goldberg, Executive Director of Maine Children's Alliance said:
"Excluding same-sex couples from marriage harms thousands of same-sex
families living throughout Maine. It's bad for parents, and it's bad for
children. We know the importance of the security that comes to the children
whose parents have the financial and health insurance benefits of marriage."
Rev. Mark Doty, pastor at the Hammond Street Congregational Church,
"We feel a moral obligation at this pivotal time to raise our voices on
behalf of Mainers who are denied that most basic human right -- the right to
marry and form a family with the person of their choice." 3
The Rev. Don Rudalevige of Cape Elizabeth, a retired United
Methodist minister, issued a press release for the Religious Coalition
which said in part:
"We want to build on Maine's tradition of equal treatment and
fairness. With momentum in New England clearly moving toward equality and
inclusion, now is the time to move this conversation forward."
The Rev. Dr. Mykel Johnson, minister at the Allen
Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church in Portland, said:
"We cannot stand by while families in our congregations and communities are at
unnecessary risk. We are not only talking
about legal and financial benefits, but also the dignity, social recognition
and support that marriage brings families." 6
Shenna Bellows, Executive Director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union said:
"The breadth of support for this bill demonstrates that Mainers value
fairness. All loving, committed couples deserve the dignity and respect, as
well as the legal rights and obligations, that civil marriage brings."
Carla Hopkins was present with her partner Victoria Eleftheriou and their
son, Eli. She said:
"Victoria and I want to get married because we're committed to spending the
rest of our lives together and we want our son to have the legal security of
having married parents. Every day, we worry that if something happens to one
of us, the other person would have a tough time providing for our son."
Opposition to the SSM bill:
Opposition is led by the Main Marriage Alliance,
the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, and the Maine Family Policy
Council (formerly called the Christian Civic League of Maine).
They have indicated that Rep. Josh Tardy (R) is planning to submit
a bill to converting the existing DOMA bill into a constitutional amendment. He said:
"The gay rights organizations in the state and in New England
have made it very clear that ... [ending the prohibition on homosexual
marriage] is their desire, and that they have listed enough legislators as
what they call marriage-friendly. According to their claim, they have enough
already on their side to overturn the law."
The fundamentalist Christian Family Research Council (FRC)
organized a "Stand for Marriage" meeting at the Augusta Civic Center.
The FRC estimated that close to 1,000 people turned out -- about 5% of the
population of Augusta, ME. FRC president Tony
"Every time people in a state (have) the ability to speak out they say
marriage should be a union between a man and woman. ... There's enthusiasm and
passion of great leaders here that I think are ready to lead this battle. ...
Marriage benefits society. It's about training up the next generation. We're
here not motivated by anger or hate. We're here because we care. We care about
families and children in Maine. And the protesters. We care about them as
well. Those folks trying to redefine marriage are not our enemies."
Some marriage equality supporters were present at
the walkway leading into the Civic Center. They quietly held lighted candles.
Michael Heath of the Maine Family Policy Council said this is a moment
of crisis and that people need to join a cooperative effort to keep loving,
committed same-sex couples from marrying. He said that a family created by an
opposite-sex married couple is the basic building block of society and exists
for procreation. It is not clear whether his group plans to ban the marriage of
opposite-sex couples who are infertile and/or elderly, and/or not planning to
have children. He said that same-sex couples want to impose
immorality on the institution of marriage.
Referring to Equality Maine and similar groups who seeking equal
marriage rights for all couples, he said that same-sex couples are really
seeking special rights. He said: "We are for equal rights, not special rights."
It is not clear how giving special marriage rights to couples consisting of one man
and one woman while preventing two men or two women from marrying generates
equal rights for all. 7
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- The Maine Freedom to Marry Coalition's website is at:
- Equality Main's home page is at:
- The Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry has a web site at:
- Thaddeus M. Baklinski, "Bill to Allow Homosexual 'Marriage' in Maine to Be
Introduced," Life Site News, 2009-JAN-13, at:
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ [LifeSiteNews and other conservative religious
groups generally place the word marriage in quotation marks when it refers to
SSM. This is to denigrate the concept of SSM]
- Maine Freedom to Marry Coalition, "Civil Marriage
Legislation Submitted to Maine Legislature," 2008-JAN-13, Magic City Morning
- "Uncle Remus," "Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry in Maine,"
- Mechele Cooper, "AUGUSTA Marriage rally sees big crowd," Kennebeck
Journal, 2009-FEB-16, at:
Copyright © 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2009-JAN-14
Latest update: 2009-MAR-27
Author: B.A. Robinson