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Posted on 11/06/09 6:30:14 PM
WordWeaver
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Main Voters Reject Same-Sex "Marriage"
All I can say regarding this development is: Thank God the people of Maine had enough common sense to put their maverick legislators in their proper place by rejecting same-sex "marriage". Let's hope that this trend continues, and that constituents in other states will likewise continue to reject the ungodly, unholy madness that is same-sex "marriage".

Following is an article from the New York Times regarding the latest developments in the US state of Maine.

Gay Rights Rebuke May Change Approach

By ABBY GOODNOUGH - NYT

November 4, 2009

They had far more money and volunteers, and geography was on their side, given that New England has been more accepting of same-sex marriage than any other region of the country. Yet gay rights supporters suffered a crushing loss when voters decided to repeal Maine's new law allowing gay men and lesbians to wed, setting back a movement that had made remarkable progress nationally this year.

Maine, with its libertarian leanings, had seemed to offer an excellent chance of reversing the national trend of voters rejecting marriage equality at the ballot box. Instead, it became the 31st state to block same-sex marriage through a public referendum.

At a time when gay rights activists believe that President Obama is not treating their agenda as a high priority, the Maine loss has left them asking who their friends are. At stake, they say, is not only same-sex marriage, but the military's ban on openly gay service members and the federal law banning same-sex marriage.

State legislatures had been viewed as new allies in the fight for same-sex marriage after lawmakers in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire approved such bills this year. But now, with Maine voters dealing a rebuke to their Legislature, it is far from clear whether elected officials -- including the president -- will risk political capital on gay rights.

Tuesday's defeat is also likely to further splinter a movement that has been debating the best tactics for success. Some prominent gay politicians last month skipped a gay rights march in Washington, questioning its purpose, which emboldened some of the younger advocates at the march to call for a new generation of leaders.

Some advocates said they were unimpressed last month when President Obama signed a law against gay hate crimes but offered relatively restrained remarks. They questioned whether it was time to take a more confrontational posture toward Mr. Obama, who benefited during the 2008 campaign from a surge of votes and donations from gay men and lesbians.

In Maine, advocates had stuck to a familiar path: using their own personal stories, they tried to persuade voters that gay people were no different from their straight neighbors and deserved equal treatment under the law.

Now, many will argue that that approach is not enough. Some are already pressing for more aggressive tactics, like speeding up a ballot measure to reverse California's ban on same-sex marriage next year, instead of taking more time to build support. Others want to focus on swaying federal lawmakers to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which Representative Barney Frank, the nation's highest-ranking openly gay politician, has called foolish at this point.

"The state-by-state strategy that looked clever a few years ago has run its course," said Richard Socarides, who advised President Bill Clinton on gay issues. "The states that were easy to get have been gotten."

This year, Iowa, New Hampshire and Vermont joined Massachusetts and Connecticut in allowing same-sex marriage, but only through court rulings and legislative action.

The tactic of using personal conversations to press for marriage equality will not be abandoned after Tuesday's resounding vote, and several advocates said that, if anything, the defeat called for more such conversations around the country.

Evan Wolfson, executive director of the national gay rights group Freedom to Marry, said the loss in Maine underscored "the fact that we need to continue those conversations and make ourselves visible as families in communities."

He added, "It shows we have just not done it long enough and deep enough, even in a place like Maine."

But opponents said that given Maine's "live-and-let live" mentality, the results were especially strong proof that same-sex marriage was not gaining acceptance.

"It interrupts the story line that is being manufactured that suggests the culture has shifted on gay marriage and the fight is over," said Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage, the conservative Christian group that is leading the charge against same-sex marriage around the country. "Maine is one of the most secular states in the nation. It's socially liberal. They had a three-year head start to build their organization, and they outspent us two to one. If they can't win there, it really does tell you the majority of Americans are not on board with this gay marriage thing."

Voter turnout was higher than expected in Maine -- perhaps 50 percent, officials said -- but not nearly as high as in last year's presidential election, which drew record numbers of young people to the polls. Opponents of the repeal sought to mobilize college students, who tend to support same-sex marriage, but the outcome suggests they might not have succeeded.

The next battlefields are New Jersey and New York, whose Democratic governors were pressing lawmakers to pass same-sex marriage bills by the end of the year, and California, where voters approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage last November. Gay rights groups there are likely to seek a ballot measure reversing the ban by 2012. A federal lawsuit challenging the prohibition is scheduled to go to trial in January and is expected to make its way to the Supreme Court.

In New Jersey, Gov. Jon S. Corzine's loss on Tuesday to Christopher J. Christie, a Republican who opposes same-sex marriage, dealt another potential blow to the movement. Mr. Christie has vowed to veto any same-sex marriage bill that reaches his desk, but Mr. Corzine could still sign a bill into law if the legislature approves it before January.

The City Council in the District of Columbia also appears poised to pass a same-sex marriage law, although opponents are seeking a referendum that would ask voters to ban it.

A more long-term, complex question is whether gay rights supporters can reverse the constitutional bans on same-sex marriage in some 30 states that have enacted them since 2000. The outcome in Maine reinforces voters' reluctance to endorse same-sex marriage, which national polls echo, though the gap is narrowing. And supporters acknowledge they would much rather avoid ballot questions.

"They tend to marginalize the group that is being targeted and inflame people's passions in a way that is at best divisive and at worst terribly cruel," said Jennifer C. Pizer, marriage project director for Lambda Legal, a national advocacy group. "Our founders did not intend to allow a majority to take basic rights from a minority."

Still, a group in Oregon announced Monday that it would seek a repeal of a constitutional ban there, perhaps as soon as 2012. Oregon voters approved the ban in 2004, and gay rights groups have been quietly building support for a repeal.

But in general, supporters are more likely to focus on states with statutory bans on gay marriage, which legislatures can reverse without voter approval. One such state is Washington, where preliminary returns from Tuesday's election showed voters approving an expansion of a domestic partnership law that would give gay couples more state-granted legal protections.

Opponents of same-sex marriage said the outcome in Maine should make lawmakers in other states nervous about endorsing it.

"We're already hearing in both New York and New Jersey that they are noticing what's happening here," Ms. Gallagher said. "Do other politicians really want to enter this particular culture war given all the stuff they are going to have to defend in the next election?"



The WordWeaver (Bill)

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. -- Jesus Christ (John 14:6b, KJV)
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