Gay marriage foes in Maine have hired the public relations firm that led the successful Proposition 8 proposal to overturn same-sex marriage in California. The reversal of the Maine law would require the signatures of 55,000 registered voters to force a referendum. 
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland is petition-gathering for a gay marriage referendum with volunteers and paid workers, and is allowing signature-gathering at churches.
Gay members of the community are facing the same bigotry that African Americans faced during the period of enforced integration of the South. I lived in Mississippi through the era of segregation and integration, and I heard the exact same poisonous rhetoric aimed at the blacks who wished to attend integrated schools but were told that separate could be equal. White preachers raved from the pulpits, quoting verses and declaring mix-race couples abominations. 
The U.S. Constitution guarantees religious freedom, but it is also specific that religion is a preference and not a universal obligation and, by extension, that moral tenants of any religious cult are fine as a covenant among its members but should never be enacted as the policy of the government to discriminate against any minority.
The Supreme Court recognized that separate is not equal. The freedom to choose a partner to live with and love is a human rights issue, and the equality of that relationship is not something to be determined by any religious group or voted on in a referendum.
William Gilliland, Farmington


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