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MAINE GETS MARRIAGE

Timothy Kincaid

May 6th, 2009

Governor Balducci signed the marriage bill.

From the San Jose Mercury News (who, for some reason reported the story first)

Gov. John Baldacci has signed a bill making Maine the fifth state to allow gay marriage.

Earlier in the day, the Maine Legislature gave final approval to gay marriage and sent the bill to Baldacci, who had been undecided on the issue.

What Happens Next

If this were a bill without opposition, it would come into effect 90 days after the end of the legislative session. However Michael Heath, executive director of the Maine Family Policy Council, has already announced that he will seek a “people’s veto” of the legislation.

A people’s veto works like this: After the end of the legislative session (probably some time in June), Heath can begin collecting signatures. He needs 10% of the last gubernatorial vote, or 55,087 valid signatures. If Heath gets enough signatures, the bill will not go into effect until it has been presented on the November ballot for an up or down vote. Yes means keep the bill, No means veto it.

Although Heath will have 90 days to collect signatures, he must present the signatures no later than 60 days before the vote, around September 3rd. Thus, may be a strange window in which signatures can be collected but in which they will not count towards forcing a vote.

Which raises a question. Were Heath to present signatures on, say, September 5 and were that day within 90 days of the end of the legislative session, would that place a stay on the enactment of the bill until the following election in the spring of 2010? While that might be a “dirty trick” that could momentarily work in Heath’s favor, it may in the long run prove to be detrimental. As time goes by, it is increasingly likely that attitudes in Maine will favor equality. This will be especially true as no dire consequences result in Vermont, Connecticut, or Massachusetts. Heath’s window of possible success may close.

As it is, Heath may have a rough go. Attitudes seem fairly even in Maine but Heath has a rather bad reputation in the state dating from his attempts to identify and out gay legislators. His requests for “tips, rumors, speculation and facts” resulted in a temporary ouster from the Christian Civic League (a previous name of the Maine Family Policy Council) and a significant amount of bad press.

Heath may well be an advantage for us. He tends towards extremism and outrageous hyperbole. Additionally, it looks as though Peter LaBarbera may be a part of the effort.

Comments

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occono
May 6th, 2009 | LINK

Remember the People’s Veto. I don’t think it’s not a concern.

But putting that aside momentarily.

Sweet Jeebus Hallejuhah!! Prop 8 seems to have created, as Harvey Milk would put it, a “National Gay Task Force” (Or something like that.)

I can’t wait for the Rapture! :) Go Maine! (As long as it sticks.)

jOHN
May 6th, 2009 | LINK

I am sitting here in disbelief. The news of this past month is something I thought I would never see.

I used to feel that living is San Francisco was just living in a gay bubble and that has burst!

Congratulations Maine!

Bruno
May 6th, 2009 | LINK

@occono: it’s a HUGE concern, because another well-funded, well-publicized vote by a state’s people on our marriages can have huge effects, as we saw with prop 8.

However, this is unlike prop 8 in 2 ways:

1) it’s not an amendment to the Maine constitution
2) it’s not technically dealing with voting on our rights, because the Maine judiciary hasn’t addressed marriage rights there…however, it does suck.

I’m 99% sure the People’s Veto vote will occur, and about 60% sure that they will not choose to veto the legislation.

occono
May 6th, 2009 | LINK

Apparently there’s a bit of history with these People’s Vetos overturning Gay Rights Bills in Maine…Yeah, big brouhaha coming.

occono
May 6th, 2009 | LINK

“Yes means keep the bill, No means veto it.”

Oh God, why?! So. Stupid. Yes means No to NOT Vetoing Gay Marriage? Why can’t there be some standard for Anti-Gay Initiatives?

occono
May 6th, 2009 | LINK

Wait, scratch that, Yes would mean Not Vetoing. Sigh. I know people in California who voted Yes who meant No and didn’t understand “Eliminates…” apparently. Hopefully Gay-friendly Mainers read these things more carefully.

Matt Algren
May 6th, 2009 | LINK

According to my reading this morning (inter-state politics is kind of interesting once you get into it), if they present the signatures between Sept. 4 and Sept. 15, the issue would be placed on the June 2010 ballot.

http://kennebecjournal.mainetoday.com/news/local/6279275.html

My guess, and that’s all it is, is that they’ll hold the signatures until that eleven day window to ensure six more months of inequality for us and fear mongering for them.

Duncan
May 6th, 2009 | LINK

Some of the things being said on conservative blogs:

“It is becoming ever clearer that to most of these voters, marriage doesn’t mean anything, it’s just a routine to go through before divorcing. So they have no qualms about debasing its nature. How sad that the only ones who do care about it do not understand how it works! When will these people understand that it is pointless to have a privilege if everyone else has it?
“However, polls show that social conservatives can gather sympathy if the public knows of them. We should show our face to the voters, not as activists or politicians, but as ordinary people who want to have a meaningful, exclusive matrimony. It should be us, not our party, at the head of our campaign. We can win any battle with the favour of Ilùvatar almighty!”

Amandil the Faithful, Nùmenórians for Proper Marriage

“I keep saying that to fight this insidious cultural subversion we must be out and proud with what motivates us, our Christian heritage. Yet, when I ask those running our campaign, they talk of “reaching out” to all faiths and none, that we risk alienating secular voters. Well, alienate them! They do not belong in this nation! Christians in this country -real, not self-declared- are a tiny and persecuted minority and it is time we fought for our rights. By my extrapolations, by 2120 white straight middle-class Christians will be slaves, and by 2400 they will be gone. I know the assumptions are questionable, but it is still cause to worry…
“I feel far more comfortable with people like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who are open with their hatred of Christianity and their desire to see it go away. Hearing ACLU saying that they are protecting my rights as well just sickens me. Anyone who denies this nation’s Christian principles is an anti-Christian bigot, pure and simple. It is thanks to those principles that America is the richest nation on this world. That is why they persecute us: because we are in power.”

Mohammed Singh, Foundation for the Funding of Fond Fundamentalists

“These people think it is enough to say that they love each other. It is our job, unpleasant as it is, to tell them that they are getting that love wrong, that they should be doing something procreative instead. It is as my great-grandfather said: Negroes who can work, Negroes who can’t become abolitionists.
“Yet just as political action is needed, FotF and its allies call on supporters to pray, fast, build temples, sacrifice virgins, whatever. This will just take us the way of the god-fearing Aztecs against the self-believing Conquistadors.”

Stéphan Ours-Froid.

Honestly, you can’t make this up. (Yes, I did, but the point is, you can’t. You don’t have the imagination.)

Maine gets Marriage « Steven Milverton
May 6th, 2009 | LINK

[...] Aber es ist noch nicht alles in trockenen Tüchern. Die Kleingeister wollen wie üblich Schwierigkeiten machen. Einzelheiten beim Box Turtle Bulletin. [...]

Richard Rush
May 6th, 2009 | LINK

….but Heath has a rather bad reputation in the state dating from his attempts to identify and out gay legislators.

Maybe that’s at least part of the reason he changed the name of his organization from “Christian Civic League of Maine” to “Maine Family Policy Council.” Perhaps the word “Christian” does not play well in focus groups. Actually, most of the major Christian-based anti-gay organizations exclude the word from their names. I wonder why.

AJD
May 6th, 2009 | LINK

Steven Milverton:

Schreiben auf Englisch hier, bitte.

Regan DuCasse
May 6th, 2009 | LINK

I’d like to know why our governor was so timid, in his last term, no less.

Ephilei
May 6th, 2009 | LINK

Props for the Tolkien references, Duncan.

Jason D
May 6th, 2009 | LINK

AJD, that’s a link back. People do it when they write a blog about something they read on BTB. They post a link to their blog, with a small snippet of their article (which in this case, is in German).
Your two clues, for future reference, are the fact that the link contains both the title of the blogger’s post + their name(or the name of their blog) and the snippet of their writing is bookended with [...]
I don’t believe there are any rules stating they have to translate it to english.

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