AUGUSTA — Longtime anti-gay activist Paul Madore on Wednesday warned
Mainers that voting on Election Day to uphold the law allowing same-sex
marriage would further normalize homosexuality.
At a news conference at the State House less than a week before the
Nov. 3 election, Madore made his first public appearance on the issue,
flanked by Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality
and Brian Camenker of MassResistance.
"This is a very serious issue, and if we don't decide correctly what
to do with this, we're apt to go the wrong way; we have been doing that
incrementally," said Madore, who lives in Lewiston.
"There's a very clear case here as to why same-sex marriage is bad for
Maine, because it has the weight and force of the legal system to
indoctrinate society to that which some perceive to be the norm. That
cannot possibly be good for Maine," he said.
Madore's political action committee, the Maine Grassroots Coalition,
has spent about $8,300 on the campaign so far, according to state
campaign finance reports. About $3,200 has gone toward paying himself
and his wife, Susan, for their efforts.
One concern cited by Madore was potential voter fraud, based on the No
on 1 campaign's program bringing out-of-staters to take vacations in
Maine to volunteer for the campaign.
"The practical effects of having this campaign, is not only that
they will come to work, but will they vote? Will they vote? We know
that voter fraud has always been an issue that's very much a part of
campaigns, particularly campaigns that are controversial," Madore said.
Jesse Connolly, campaign manager for the No on 1/Protect Maine Equality group, called the accusation "insulting."
"We certainly have volunteers from out of state, but we hold Maine's
election laws very seriously," he said. "It's unfortunate that the
level of discourse has fallen to this."
Connolly said his group has not been deceptive about anything and is very focused on Election Day.
The Stand for Marriage Maine group, which is leading efforts to
reject the new law, disavowed Madore's news conference and his
speakers, said Scott Fish, spokesman for Stand for Marriage Maine.
Bob Emrich, a leader of the group, said that although Madore is
advocating for the same "Yes on 1" vote his group is, they have chosen
not to endorse his message.
"Paul does his thing, whatever that might be; everybody may be
headed to the same destination, but the way of getting there may be
different," Emrich said.
He said he disassociated his group from LaBarbera, specifically.
"(LaBarbera's) comments are that we, being Stand for Marriage Maine
and myself, that we are cowardly," Emrich said. "So given that that's
his attitude toward the way we're presenting our message, it's hard to
imagine how we could work closely with him."
Madore, who was active in previous campaigns against what he calls
"the homosexual issue," offered his services to the Stand for Marriage
Maine campaign, but like Michael Heath, formerly of the Christian Civic
League, was not assigned a leadership role in the campaign.
"They just felt like there was a different way to do it, so you can't
have a team going in different directions at the same time," Emrich
said of the situation.
The speakers at the news conference sought to reveal what they felt
were hidden agendas behind contributors to the No on 1 campaign.
"What hasn't been reported are the incredibly radical connections and
behaviors and public pronouncements of some of these groups," said
LaBarbera, using the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force as an example.
"The people of Maine are not familiar with the support of the bigoted
gay organizations that have been the sustenance of the No on 1
LaBarbera read a description of a course offered by the National Gay
and Lesbian Task Force during a summit held in February as an example
of something Mainers should be aware of.
"This workshop will empower (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and
questioning) youth to increase their emotional and physical safety with
intimate partners, acquaintances and hook-ups. Participants will gain
and practice skills and tools to convey awareness, gain full consent,
assert boundaries and respectively approach someone, recognize abusive
behavior and respond to dangerous situations," he read.
"Essentially, what we are talking about here is an organization so
radical that they are now advocating sexual freedom for young people,"
When asked why he was holding the news conference so close to the
election, Madore said he had trouble raising enough money to bring in
"But there's a very clear message that's reverberating in Lewiston
regarding the threat of indoctrination, the content in the schools and
I believe the vast majority of parents don't want that. They want
fairness for all, but they're not willing to sacrifice their children
for it," he said.
A statement released by the No on 1 campaign said Madore has "been
behind some of the most anti-gay hate speech over the last 20 years" in
Maine. Additionally, MassResistance, Camenker's group, is one of 11
designated anti-gay hate groups listed by the Southern Poverty Law
Center, according to the No on 1 campaign.