Question 1: The people should decide

Question 1 is the stuff referendums are made of. Everybody has an opinion.

Whether to allow same-sex marriages resonates differently inside every Mainer, depending on the unique social ingredients that have comprised their lives. For some, it is an issue of nature. For others, it is nurture. Marriages are either unbreakable, sacred contracts with God and spouse — or just the filing status on your tax return. It all matters what you believe.

On Nov. 3, voters will decide same-sex marriages in Maine. If approved, we would join the states that have deviated from defining marriage as between man and woman, either by affirming the rights of same-sex couples to marry, or offering the chance to enter into legal "civil unions." If repealed, we would join California as states that have overturned it.

Since its introduction over a year ago, the notion of gay marriages has spun the social, political, moral and religious compasses of Maine, making Question 1 — at its core — a referendum about our society. It is only right, then, our society shall now decide it.

Until recently, campaigning around marriages was respectful and eloquent. Though many disparate voices have been heard, one common conclusion was drawn: marriage remains a powerful institution, worthy of protection or extension. The numerous impassioned arguments about its proper definition have been a stirring validation of its importance.

As a ballot initiative, though, the lofty rhetoric stopped and the mudslinging began. Whatever mutual respect that existed faded. Those on each side of this issue have battled, while failing to acknowledge the other is not — either technically, morally or philosophically — wrong. (Such is the standard of politics.)

The quest for social equality is inarguable. Yet so is defense of fundamental beliefs. Instead of recognizing this, we're stuck stumbling through a morass of educational and judicial interpretations of effect, bizarre allegations of indoctrination, and public backlash against the Catholic Church that's painted it as an evil agent of oppression. The legislative discussion about marriage that ended with stirring, enlightening soul-searching by lawmakers has turned into base political finger-pointing.

In April, as this issue was being debated under the State House dome, we felt it was appropriate to send it to voters, as matters of great public importance should be decided by the people. Our opinion hasn't changed. Question 1 has deep-seated political, moral and religious implications that touch every Mainer differently. So, on Nov. 3, every Mainer should have their say.

Our preference on marriage would be the status quo; this is what we believe about the institution. Yet we realize our opinion is one of many, and no single entity is privileged or entitled to decide whether same-sex marriages should be granted in Maine.

Same-sex marriage has sparked a clash of many ideals; one overrules them: The principle of a democracy, the system where popular sentiment is the ultimate authority. Not the Legislature. Not the Bishop. Not the activists. Not the faithful.

On Question 1, the people should decide.

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 's picture

It saddens me to realize

It saddens me to realize that the Sun Journal advocates for "status quo" when it comes to civil equality in Maine. How can this newspaper reconcile the inadequacy in which Maine treats its citizens? For the Sun Journal to advocate and ultimately endorse discrimination is troubling. The institution of marriage not withstanding, it is fair, and is it just to treat our gay and lesbian neighbors with such blatant inequity? Putting the question to the voters by referendum is appropriate for myriad issues ranging from tax reform to bond initiatives but for this newspaper to actually believe that civil equality is best decided by asking voters to give permission to a marginalized group of law-abiding citizens whom merely wish to get married is unconscionable. The issue of same-sex marriage goes far beyond religious convictions or objections. Should Question 1 strike down same-sex marriage in Maine, it could be seen as a mandate which would allow religious dogma to become the arbiter of justice and equality for virtually every social issue imaginable — gays and lesbians included. Is this what the Sun Journal advocates?

 's picture

No one has the right to tell

No one has the right to tell others who they can love. The gays should have rights too.


This issue demonstrates the

This issue demonstrates the problems that arise when you mix church and state. But the legislation protects religion. There is no religious issue here.
Marriage has been re-defined many times. The last being the Loving decision. Almost always by the courts.
The public should not have a voice in civil rights issues. The majority is almost always wrong. We should leave this up to the constitutionally designated officials - the legislature and the courts.
Vote No on 1.
Jon Albrecht Dixfield

FRANK EARLEY's picture

old trucker Why should

old trucker
Why should this matter to anyone. I don't believe in conventional marrage. Noone is accusing me of imorality
I have two brothers, they both did the so called right thing. Graduated college, got married, bought extremely expencive homes. I didn't.
Now I have two divorced brothers. Is any type of marrage fool proof, I don't think so give everyone a chance. If something works its worth it. I was married to a Peterbuilt for many years. unfortunatlly My fuel pump and oil pump went on the same day. After thirty years I decided on divorce.
I'm not saying this to be funny. I'm saying this because I feel everyone has a right to be happy. I'm not saying I agree or disagree with this, but I think its something everyone needs to analize.

 's picture

Robert you are a republican?

Robert you are a republican? That explains A LOT.

 's picture

You are ignorant if you

You are ignorant if you think that ONLY Democrats voted in this law. Either way I commend them for doing so.

 's picture

On June 12, 1967, the

On June 12, 1967, the nation's highest court voted unanimously to overturn the conviction of Richard and Mildred Loving, a young interracial couple from rural Caroline County, Va.

That decision struck down the anti-miscegenation laws — written to prevent the mixing of the races — that were on the books at the time in more than a dozen states, including Virginia.

Richard Loving was white; his wife, Mildred, was black. In 1958, they went to Washington, D.C. — where interracial marriage was legal — to get married. But when they returned home, they were arrested, jailed and banished from the state for 25 years for violating the state's Racial Integrity Act.

To avoid jail, the Lovings agreed to leave Virginia and relocate to Washington.

Lawyer Bernard Cohen challenged the Lovings' conviction, but the original judge in the case upheld his decision. Judge Leon Bazile wrote: "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. ... The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."

As Cohen predicted, the case moved all the way up to the Supreme Court, where the young ACLU attorney made a vivid and personal argument:

"The Lovings have the right to go to sleep at night knowing that if should they not wake in the morning, their children would have the right to inherit from them. They have the right to be secure in knowing that, if they go to sleep and do not wake in the morning, that one of them, a survivor of them, has the right to Social Security benefits. All of these are denied to them, and they will not be denied to them if the whole anti-miscegenistic scheme of Virginia... [is] found unconstitutional."

After the ruling — now known as the "Loving Decision" — the family, which had already quietly moved back to Virginia, finally returned home to Caroline County.

so it wasn't really that long ago that inter racial marriage was illegal.....if the peoples veto was around back then I bet it would still be illegal....which tells me that the majority shouldn't be able to decide how the minority lives....

 's picture

Hey, you said it. I'm VERY

Hey, you said it. I'm VERY disappointed in the SJ for not taking an editorial position on this issue. I'm expecting the board to sway in one direction or another on the remainder of the ballot questions, so why the SJ didn't on this issue is bothering me. Yes or No. . . which is it SJ? What say you? I wanna know!


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