In rebuttal — B. Emrich: Initiative redefines marriage for everyone

In his July 29 column Doug Rooks approached the issue of same-sex marriage with a perspective that is out of touch with the values of the majority of Mainers.

A handful of liberal Republicans supporting a genderless definition of marriage is hardly breaking news, and his description of redefining marriage as a “crystal clear civil rights issue” is not in sync with community conversations of typical Maine citizens.

Rooks writes that it is “numb” to say that attitudes toward marriage have not shifted. But not everyone believes the talking points from Boston-based GLAAD.

If there is numbness evident, it is in the notion that large numbers of people are “rethinking” their support for traditional marriage between one man and one woman just because President Barack Obama cannot make up his mind.

After this lack of research, it was not surprising that he accused me of “derision” because I quoted a historical fact about the roots of the Republican Party. Or that he regarded it as belittling to point out the fact that the Republicans supporting redefining marriage did not include any Republican leadership.

I did not say the individuals were “insignificant,” as Rooks wrongfully claims. I did say, and still believe, that the event was insignificant. Was it “fuming” to question why these people called themselves Republicans when they publicly oppose the historic position and the current platform of the party?

Rooks avoided writing about the consequences of redefining marriage. Gay marriage would not exist in the law outside traditional marriage. The initiative redefines marriage for everyone. And anyone who disagrees with this new definition of marriage will potentially find themselves facing consequences.

Citizens, small businesses and religious organizations would not be allowed to let their beliefs and traditions determine their decisions, and they would find themselves in legal trouble if they did not comply with the new law's heavy-handed mandates.

This is already happening in neighboring Vermont where Christian innkeepers were sued over their refusal to make their facilities available for same-sex weddings, despite offers to refer the couples to other providers and in spite of the deeply held religious views of the innkeepers.

And, in Massachusetts, when kids as young as second grade were taught about gay marriage in class, the courts ruled that parents had no right to prior notice, or to opt their children out of such instruction.

Rooks, and the Sun Journal, are attempting to make marriage a political issue. It isn’t.

Current laws already afford same-sex couples legal equality. The initiative being advanced by gay advocates isn't, therefore, about equality. It is a political exercise to force their will on society so that society issues a stamp of approval on homosexual relationships.

Bob Emrich, Plymouth

Chairman of Protect Marriage Maine

and pastor of Emmanuel Bible Baptist Church

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Betty Davies's picture

"Christian" bigots don't deserve special treatment.

When businesses are fined for not renting to same-sex couples, they are violating state non-discrimination policies, like in the case of the Wildflower Inn in Vermont. Inns and reception halls should be no less publicly accessible than lunch counters and water fountains.

The Inn was in blatant violation of the state’s nearly 20-year-old nondiscrimination laws. Under Vermont law, only privately owned inns with five or fewer rooms are exempted from public accommodation protections based on sexual orientation; the Wildflower Inn has 24 rooms. It is also not a religious institution or even a religiously-affiliated business.


Miriam Conners's picture


Emrich is correct on the redefinition point. It is fairly important to understand what a social institution is and how they function in society. There is a mountain of legal scholarship and social science data on this topic. Society cannot have two marriage institutions at the same time. You either have man-woman marriage or gender-less marriage. This is made perfectly clear to anyone willing to read the bill and discover that all familial terms are rendered gender neutral with regard to the law. To legalize same-sex marriage, familial terms must be redefined. It's definitely redefinition.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Excellently stated, Reverend.

Excellently stated, Reverend. Brace yourself for the onslaught.

 's picture

I know what you're saying,

I know what you're saying, Brother Bob! Why just yesterday a colored boy was drinking from a white water fountain! Keep up the good work Rev, I'm sure Jesus is on your side!

Jason Theriault's picture

Funny you should mentiona Vermont, Bobby....

funny you should mention the hotel in Vermont, because that would be illegal already in Maine under 5 MRSA §4552

The relevent part:
To protect the public health, safety and welfare, it is
declared to be the policy of this State to keep continually in
review all practices infringing on the basic human right to a
life with dignity, and the causes of these practices, so that
corrective measures may, where possible, be promptly recommended
and implemented, and to prevent discrimination in employment,
housing or access to public accommodations on account of race,
color, sex, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability,
religion, ancestry or national origin;

Being married has nothing to do with it. If you rent out a facility to the public, you have to rent it to everyone. If you choose not to rent it to someone, it can't be because they are gay. I respect other's religious beliefs, but you can't hide behind them and use them to justify anything.

 's picture


What does the majority support? "A new poll released today shows 55 percent of Mainers supporting a referendum question that would allow same-sex couples to legally marry."

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"Yeah, but polls taken in

"Yeah, but polls taken in Oqunquit shouldn't be considered valid", murmured the parrot.

Jason Theriault's picture

Eat more chicken?

I bet the parrot loves Chick-fil-a

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

No, but the Pirate does. The

No, but the Pirate does. The parrot thinks it's a place to pick up girls.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

The parrot gets nervous in

The parrot gets nervous in Chick-fil-a – a bird on a bun!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

He's been nervous ever since

He's been nervous ever since I asked him if he wanted a bite of my chicken fingers. Won't even show his toes and claws.

 's picture


So, what are the consequences of "redefining" marriage? More people will be allowed to express their love for each other? Oh my!

MARK GRAVEL's picture

One problem I see is that

One problem I see is that once SSM is legal, some of the more radical individuals will force the Church perform ceremonies even though it is against their beliefs.

While I support SSM from a contractual point of view (i.e. state recognized marriage), I also support the Churches and its followers freedom to peruse its beliefs as it sees fit.

There is enough room for both beliefs to coexist, but in my opinion, force acceptance (for the lack of a better term) will not stop with marriage equality.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Ever try to plug a lamp into

Ever try to plug a lamp into a lamp?

RONALD RIML's picture

We've been down that road before.

Separate, but equal - isn't equal.

Nor is your 'Stamp of Approval' ever required.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Life never presents true

Life never presents true equality – just get used to it.


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