Governor's Race 2010: Gay marriage

When voters last November overturned the Maine law allowing same-sex couples to legally marry, they dealt a dispiriting blow to gay rights advocates.

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It was their third such defeat since 1995. Prior to 2009, Maine voters rejected proposals in 1995 and 2000 designed to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation. Opponents of those bills said the legislation was the first step to redefining "traditional marriage."

Given that history, it might seem like gay marriage is unlikely to be considered by Mainers in the foreseeable future. 

But same-sex marriage supporters were heartened by an August ruling by a California U.S. District Court judge that said that state's ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional.

The ruling could pave the way for a Supreme Court decision, which could then be used to establish precedent for other states to argue same-sex marriage is protected by the 14th Amendment.

The issue is also playing a role in some legislative races.

According to reports in the Bangor Daily News and the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, the National Organization for Marriage, which spent more than $2 million helping to overturn Maine's gay marriage law, is targeting incumbent legislators who supported the bill.

Currently, five other states have legalized gay marriage: Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut. All did so through legislation or court rulings, not by popular vote.

Constitutional amendments banning gay marriage have been approved in all 30 states where they have been on the ballot.

Eliot Cutler, 64, independent

Cutler said he voted to support Maine's marriage equality law in 2009, and he continues to support it now. 

John Jenkins, 58, independent

Jenkins said he supports gay marriage. However, he wouldn't "use the hammer of government" to ram it down people's throats.

"People who get married are serious," he said. "I'm amazed when people say that (gay marriage) is a threat to the institution of marriage. I say things like domestic violence is more of a threat to the institution than gay marriage."

Paul LePage, 61, Republican

In this and interviews elsewhere, LePage has said he would put the issue of gay marriage to the voters.

If such a bill came through the Legislature, as it did in 2009, he said he would veto it.

"The people of the state of Maine have said no," he said. "(Gov. John Baldacci) passed something after they said no, so the people went back and repealed it again. I think it's my job to honor the wishes of the people of Maine."

LePage said he didn't have a personal stance on the issue.

"I have brothers who are gay and I'm closer to them than some that aren't," he said. "I have a lot of friends that have been gay. Each to their own. People do what they want to do."

Libby Mitchell, 70, Democrat

Mitchell said she supports marriage equality.

"I always support equality and civil liberties," she said.

She said that no church or religious organization is required to accept gay marriage.

She added that civil unions aren't the same as marriage because so many laws and regulations would have to be changed to make the two arrangements equal.

"It's a matter of human dignity," Mitchell said.

Shawn Moody, 51, independent

Moody believes that gay marriage is inevitable.

"I'm quite confident it's a generational issue," Moody said. "They become more socially accepting as time moves on."

But Moody doesn't think the matter should be handled through legislation.

"Maine has set the precedent that they don't want (gay marriage) decided by the Legislature," Moody said. "As governor, I wouldn't promote my own personal beliefs, but I would certainly be sensitive to the will of the voters."

Kevin Scott, 42, independent

Scott said his position on gay marriage would be determined by the will of voters.

"The people of Maine voted not to allow gay marriage," he said. "That's where I am. When they vote to allow gay marriage, that's where I am."

Scott said he would fight discrimination against homosexuals. However, he isn't "into redefining marriage."

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 's picture

who cares...

right now people need work

 's picture

If you can't site anything but God/religion as the reason..

that homosexuality is wrong, then there is no logical reason why gay marriage should not be legal. That's a fundamental of separating church and state.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

If you get same sex marriage,

If you get same sex marriage, whalt will you want next? Same sex Civil Unions were "never going to lead to same sex marriage". Remember that one? So, what's next after gay marriage? Tell us now, so that we, the people, can decide when the time comes to vote on it again.

Jack Kaubris's picture


And God doesn't have to be real in order for you to believe in 'Him'.

 's picture

Yeah, logical.

Believing in a god doesn't make him real. And believing in him doesn't mean he exists. And believing in him won't put you in heaven.

I'll just sit right here and do nothing.

 's picture


Actually I never quoted the constitution. Sorry, man. You can read most any historian, from Wood to Zinn to Bailyn, and it's not hard to find that religion did not mean much if anything to the heavy majority of the founding fathers, and there was absolutely a clear intent to keep government distinctly separate from the church.

And no I haven't bought into any myth that homosexuals were born that way, because I realize that there isn't a definitive answer as to whether they are or not. But, I live by the idea that if someone wants to do something that does not adversely affect me, I have no right to keep them from it.

 's picture


I know what I'm saying, trust me. Again, you've been putting words in my mouth this entire time. I think you've had these arguments before and are assuming I think the same way people who give similar arguments do. If you go back the the first post I made, I stated that I was in favor of allowing the majority to vote gay marriage into law, because I believe that will come fairly soon.

I'm not arguing against the idea of religious groups with lobbies or an influence on public thought, I am arguing against religious-based ideas being the foundation for laws in the country. I haven't said anything about the separation of church and state being in the constitution, I am saying it was clear what our founding fathers thought about separating church and state. And yes, the establishing of an official church for the state is a part of the idea, but another part, that the founding fathers shared, was that they did not want religions to directly influence the government. I don't really feel like going into "The Radicalism of the American Revolution", possibly the most well respected book on the subject, and quoting everything it says there about the founding fathers' attitudes towards religion.

 's picture

"A very large percentage of

"A very large percentage of the population is homosexual" - can you please provide statistics? I googled and found this information: 1.51% of the total U.S. population identifies themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual, or 4.3 total million Americans on this website That is hardly "A very large percentage."

 's picture

On that same page there is

On that same page there is another source saying, from exit poll data, 4% of the population is gay. - This study suggests 7-8%. I tend to think it's somewhere in the 4-8 range. You can find studies all over that say different numbers. But let me appease you for a moment and say it is indeed only 1.51% of the population (I don't believe this poll at all since it's coming from a website based on religion, and the same numbers say only .4% of the population are atheists... it could find you 2 million atheists in a day). That is still over 4 million people. That is more than three times the state of Maine. Homosexuals are a large minority of the population and deserve the same rights as the rest of us.

 's picture


I apologize if I was trying to legitimize the idea of homosexual marriage if that wasn't what you were questioning.

And yes, I'm also sorry for the "it" instead of the "I". I think the guy who posted the numbers will suffice, since I don't really feel like doing all that work. Maybe I should have been a little more clear, since there are probably plenty more actual atheists (that is, someone who is absent of a believe in a god) than self-identifying atheists. There is still a bit of a stigma in our society with that word.. unlike struggling homosexuals who may try to be straight when they are not, however, people who don't have a belief in a god sometimes like to use words that are seen as less extreme sounding like agnostic or non-religious.

 's picture

The whole choice thing issue is a little ridiculous

The idea that homosexuality is a choice is a fallacious argument, because it doesn't matter. I could care less whether homosexuality is from nature, nurture, or choice. Homosexuality is, in fact, something that does not affect anyone else but the individual and his/her consenting partner. Therefore, people should be left alone to live the way they see fit as long as no one or nothing is being adversely affected. Now, if the government is going to be in the business of granting marriages, it has the duty to accept these individuals as equals and grant them what they deserve.

As for the issue of homosexuality as something that is against the religious morality of several religions, no one is saying churches or mosques have to marry homosexuals. This is a fundamental separation of church vs. state issue. The church should not be forced to recognize people they (in my eyes, wrongfully) deem immoral as married, and if people of these religions are against gay marriage, then they should just look at marriage through the eyes of their church instead of the eyes of the government.

The acceptance of homosexuality is rising, and I am confident that the people of the state of Maine will vote to grant homosexuals the right to marry within the next 10 years if Paul LePage is our governor and keeps the legislature from granting them their right. I do not consider this a major issue if he does in fact become our governor. While several civil rights issues needed the government to change before people's opinions changed, this seems to be shifting much more organically toward the side of equality.

 's picture

Well, what makes something normal?

It's completely normal to the people who are homosexuals, and it doesn't affect anyone or anything else adversely, so why shouldn't we teach it as something that is normal? What makes it abnormal? A very large percentage of the population is homosexual, so it seems pretty normal to me.

If a school decides to have books such as The Prince and the Prince in their library, that's an issue for the community, not one for the state.


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