Forum to focus on gay marriage

LEWISTON — Advocates for both sides of the gay marriage issue will have a chance to share their views at this month's Great Falls Forum presentation Thursday, Oct. 15. It will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in Callahan Hall at the Lewiston Public Library.


Lew Alessio

Picasa 2.0

Marc Mutty

Speaking on the topic "Marriage in Maine: Gay or Nay" will be civil rights advocate Lew Alessio and Mark Mutty, chairman of the political action committee Stand for Marriage Maine.

Alessio is a lifelong champion for social equality who, since 1994, has served as a speaker with Maine Speakout, which seeks to address issues of discrimination in the state. A former actor, director, playwright and teacher, he currently works as a public health educator and the program coordinator of MaineGeneral Health's HIV prevention education program for men under the auspices of the Maine and national Centers for Disease Control.

In this role he has been effective in furthering understanding of the direct correlation between the spread of HIV/AIDS and discrimination, and as a result was the recipient in 2007 of Equality Maine's Cameron Duncan Award for outstanding achievement.

In addition to his experience as a civil rights activist, Alessio will bring a personal perspective to the upcoming forum program. Ten years ago his life partner, with whom he had shared a home for 30 years, passed away from pancreatic cancer. Because Alessio was not recognized as a legal relative, he was not allowed to make any decisions regarding the handling of the his partner's remains. The complications that followed motivated Alessio to pursue marriage equality in Maine.

Marc Mutty has served for many years as the director of the Office of Public Affairs for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland. In this position, he has functioned as spokesman as well as registered lobbyist for the diocese, testifying frequently before legislative committees and commissions. He has co-chaired a legislative commission to study poverty among working parents, and has been involved with several other commissions, committees and statewide referendums over the years.

Mutty is a past trustee of Mercy Hospital's board of directors, member and past president to the Maine Equal Justice Partners, a member of Consumers for Affordable Health Care, vice president of the Maine Council of Churches and a member of the South Portland/Cape Elizabeth Rotary Club. He also serves on a number of boards and committees for other service organizations.

Lewiston Public Library Director Rick Speer said he anticipates Thursday's Great Falls Forum to attract a large and enthusiastic turnout, and feels "privileged to be able to host such a timely examination of both sides of this important issue which is up for public vote in November."

The audience will be invited to submit questions to the speakers following their presentation. Admission to the event is free, with attendees invited to bring brown-bag lunches. Bottled water will be available.

Attendees may also take advantage of the forum's partnership with Guthries cafe and request one of the eatery's sandwiches or salads to be delivered to the library in advance of the talk. Orders should be placed preferably by 7 p.m. the day before the event.

Partnering with the library as cosponsors of the Great Falls Forum series are the Sun Journal, Bates College and St. Mary's Regional Medical Center.

The Lewiston Public Library is located at 200 Lisbon St., at the corner of Pine Street. More information on Thursday's lecture, or other upcoming events in the Great Falls Forum series, is available by contacting the Lewiston Public Library at 513-3135 or

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William L. Colburn III's picture

First and foremost, I am a

First and foremost, I am a heterosexual male. What the gay community opts to do among themselves in their own home is their business, and personally, I don't care one way or the other, as long as it has no effect on me, my wife or children. However, I am voting "YES" on question 1, for the following reason. A close friend of mine is a well respected member of her community, and is also a justice of the peace, who has performed a multitude of marriages in the state of Maine. She has the same attitude as I, which is let them do as they please in their own home. Though she is not bigoted by definition, her family values and beliefs are such that she would not feel comfortable in performing a gay wedding ceremony. and would prefer to decline doing so. If the gay marriage bill passes and she declines to perform a gay wedding ceremony based upon her upbringing and beliefs, her justice of the peace license can be revoked. Is that fair? I think not. As such, I am voting "YES" to repeal question 1.

 's picture

And that problem is even

And that problem is even more serious for ministers who have religious reasons for not wanting to perform marriages between two homosexuals. The second part of this bill specifically protects such ministers from being forced to perform marriages that are against their beliefs.

 's picture

It is all those issues. We

It is all those issues. We were told at first that there was no homosexual agenda...homosexual people just wanted not to be the victims of discrimination in housing, employment, etc. Then we were told that there was no homosexual agenda...homosexuals just wanted to have their unions recognized as legitimate, carrying the same legal rights as marriage. Now we are being told there his no homosexual agenda...homosexuals just want their loving relationships to have the same legal and societal standing as those of heterosexuals, ie. marriage.

The fact is that the agenda is that homosexuality will be accepted as a moral equivalent to heterosexuality and this law will lead not only to the legal validation of homosexual marriage, but also to the institutionalization of homosexuality being taught in schools... not just that homosexual marriages exist, but that they are the moral equivalent of a marriage between a man and a woman. (See what's happening in England...who is way "ahead" of us in this regard...

In addition, it will eventually lead to an imposition by the state on churches who believe the Bible and what it teaches..that homosexuality is a sin. Such talk will become a "hate crime", and we will have truly crossed the line that is supposed to separate church and state.

For an interesting summary of the two sides of the issue see

 's picture

You're right...everyone has

You're right...everyone has an agenda. My point is that the gay lobby has been disingenuous in it's denial that there was one. I am not fearful, and I am not trying to engender fear. Rather, I am trying to make the point that people often say one thing and really want something else, something more. I think that it would be naive of anyone to think that there is no agenda to silence those who believe that homosexuality is a sin. What else is behind the constant (and misled) call to separate church and state? If the church can be silenced, then people can behave in any way they like (and this includes much more than homosexuality) without fear that anyone will put forth a standard other than what is right in one's own eyes. This is the definition of anarchy.

No one has the right to tell

No one has the right to tell another who to love. Let the gays get mjarried. They aren't hurting anyone. Have a heart straights...

AUGUST SCHAU's picture

Well worth attending. The

Well worth attending. The Maine State Legislature passed and Governor Baldacci signed this law into effect; then came the bigots and naysayers. The Catholic Church has raised a lot of money to interfere with State government. Where is the separation or church and state? Are we to be held hostage by a hate group? Who will they come for next? Blacks, the disabled, or Jews? Please vote NO one one.

Politics and religion don't

Politics and religion don't mix under any circumstances, and people that can't accept this obviously have nothing better to do. They really need to find something better to do with their time. The catholics also need to stop judging others, about their lifestyles as well, they "ARE NOT GOD" although they may think that they are, holier than thou but they're no better than the gay guy down the block. Leave the issue alone. "GOD IS THE ONLY ONE" who should and can decide whats right and wrong.

 's picture

I don't understand this

I don't understand this "politics and religion don't mix" argument. One of the ten commandments says thou shalt not kill. So if we legislate against murder, is that mixing politics and religion? My understanding of the separation of church and state is that the state was being blocked from undue influence of church matters, not the other way around.

 's picture

I feel sorry for the

I feel sorry for the quandary that Mr. Alessio was in after his partner died. What I don't understand is why, after a relationship of 30 years, they did not make legal arrangements so that Mr. Alessio could direct things after his partner's passing. Doesn't power of attorney or naming someone as the executor of your estate, or both of those, take care of this? Homosexual or not, there are many, many times when someone does not want their blood relatives in charge, and appoints someone else.


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