Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gay marriage battle reaches Maine

Religious leaders and activists in the State of Maine are mobilizing for a legislative battle over the politically charged issue of gay marriage. In recent weeks, the politically charged issue has been heating up in Maine ahead of the new legislative session, which begins in early January (as it does in most states with part-time lawmakers, meaning the legislature is in session for a couple of months per year, and Committees supervise things in the interim).

Equality Maine is ramping up its game, after three years of a low-key public education campaign to highlight gay and lesbian issues. Equality Maine has a new adversary however, the newly-formed Maine Marriage Alliance, who is pushing for an amendment to the state constitution that would define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Both sides agree that any bill allowing same-sex marriage that wins legislative approval is sure to be challenged in a people's veto referendum (which is distinctive to Maine, just as most states cannot "recall" their chief executive as California did former Governor Davis).

Both sides are also aware the State House will be largely focused on dealing with an $838 million gap in its next two-year budget. Three pieces of citizen-initiated legislation that could go before voters next November are also having an impact. The legislation might draw more conservative-minded voters to the polls and if a same-sex marriage bill passes the Legislature, it would assuredly be challenged and put to referendum.

Equality Maine provides to following video:


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