No On 1′s Response: “Outsiders Are Trying to Harm Our Kids”
September 24th, 2009
How about showing those folks fighting for equality in Maine some love?
Maine’s Fear-Mongering Echo Chamber
September 23rd, 2009
Maine “Yes On 1″ Ad Recycles California Ads, Casts Activist As “Teacher”
September 22nd, 2009
We alerted you earlier today that the folks at Stand for Marriage Maine were about to reveal a new television ad, and that they promised to repeat talking points that they had already acknowledged as lies. Well, here it is:
It’s an almost word-for-word copy of this 2008 commercial for California’s Prop 8. The only difference is a that Charla Bansley was cast in the role of “teacher, Ellsworth, Maine.” And who is Charla Bansley? She’s no ordinary run-of-the-mill school teacher. Sharp-eyed Jeremy Hooper has the scoop:
In truth, Ms. Bansley is the state director of the Concerned Women For America of Maine, and has appeared onstage at many Stand For Marriage Maine rallies. She has made her interest clear time and time again.
And while she is a teacher, she doesn’t teach at a public institution. She teaches at Calvary Chapel Christian School. A Christian school where she is already freely stifling pro-gay speech, at least according to one of her very own students.
Stand For Marriage Maine Announces Second TV Ad; Self-Confessed Lies Will Continue
September 22nd, 2009
Stand for Marriage Maine has issued a press release announcing a teleconference tomorrow to reveal their second television ad, which they’ve titled, “Everything To Do With Schools.” Based on that title, it appears that the group supporting Maine’s Question 1 to rescind that state’s marriage equality law is hell-bent on pressing the line that they’ve already admitted was false. Here’s the description of their second ad from their press release:
Stand for Marriage Maine will launch its second statewide television ad on September 23, 2009, directly depicting the impact on children’s education should LD 1020 become law.
Michael Heath Resigns From Christian Civic League of Maine
September 22nd, 2009
According to this announcement, Michael Heath resigned from the Christian Civic League of Maine yesterday. This is the guy who thought acceptance of gays were responsible for the recession. The announcement posted on the Maine Family Policy Council web site acknowledges Heath as “a lightning rod,” but doesn’t say why he’s leaving except to indicate that he will work as a private consultant. He’s had this gig since 1994. I’m sure there’s much more to the story than meets the eye.
Maine Marriage Equality Opponents: Yeah, We’re Lying
September 22nd, 2009
Maine voters are being alerted to several blatant falsehoods put forward by supporters of Question 1, the ballot measure to rescind Maine’s recently enacted Marriage Equality bill. The Bangor Daily News editorial staff last week denounced those falsehoods:
Opponents of the law are bringing children into the fray, suggesting their innocence would be sullied if the repeal fails. It’s a ploy that has been used effectively before; any candidate for elected office who supports sex education is said to favor handing out condoms to kindergarten children. This time, the claim by repeal proponents is that schools would be forced to teach “gay sex education.” It is baseless and betrays an ignorance about education.
…So, the question that remains about the repeal proponents is: Are they knowingly misleading people by claiming schools will be forced to teach the details of gay sex, or are they genuinely ignorant that same-sex couples are among us, and that their children are in our schools?
The Daily News editors asked a very important question, which Portland television station WMTW answered yesterday: Marriage Maine is knowingly misleading Maine voters:
Part of the TV commercial includes a line, “Homosexual marriage taught in public schools whether parents like it. Vote yes on question one.”
…According to the Department of Education, no specific curriculum language exists or would exist that instructs schools to teach about marriage. There are guidelines for students to discuss their own health in context of family life, but nothing explicit. The exact lesson plans are created by an individual school system, some of which already talk about heterosexuality and homosexuality.
Those who made the commercial said the line in the advertisement is not meant to be taken literally. Instead, it’s meant to imply that, in their opinion, if schools currently teach about family life and marriage, discussions about same-sex marriage would likely be included.
…In terms of teaching about marriage in schools, if the issue of same-sex marriage is part of the lesson plan for sex education classes in older grades, parents can opt out of the classes now, according to Maine law — and that would not change. [Emphasis mine]
Gay Philanthropist Donates $100K To Equality March
September 15th, 2009
From the Washington Blade:
Gay philanthropist Bruce Bastian of Utah has donated $70,000 to the National Equality March in D.C. and plans to contribute another $30,000 for the event because he strongly believes it will jump-start the LGBT rights movement.
Jump-start the LGBT rights movement? Nothing will jump-start it like two victories in Maine and Washington, and nothing will deflate it like two more defeats in November. Remember the huge letdown after Prop 8? Or are our attention spans really that short?
I appreciate the passion for the March but it is being foolishly misdirected. Not only are its goals ill-concieved and not thought through, but it’s slated for October 11 when Congress will not be in recess and President Obama will be out of town.
Frankly, this whole March idea may be a great ego boost for the organizers, but it’s incredibly selfish considering the needs of LGBT people who face ballot initiatives right now aimed at stripping them and their families of basic rights. That $130,000 can make a huge difference in those fights, not on the grassy lawn of the Mall while everyone else is out of town.
Non-Churchgoers In Maine, Get Lost
September 8th, 2009
This really is all about narrow religions imposing their views on everyone else. According to WBLZ in Bangor, Maine:
Maine’s Catholic church continues to be active in the fight against same sex marriage.
The bishop has asked churches to take up a special second collection next weekend to support Stand For Marriage Maine, the group leading the effort to repeal Maine’s same sex marriage law.
An interesting tidbit appears at the end of that short news brief. Stand for Marriage Main will hold a rally at the Augusta Civic Center on September 13. But you or I probably won’t be able to get in — not unless we pick up free tickets through our local church. Non-churchgoers need not apply.
Maine’s Anti-Gay Marriage Campaign Leader is Completely Insane
September 3rd, 2009
Mark Mutty, Executive Chairman of the Stand for Marriage coalition, made a most interesting to a reporter from the Maine Public Broadcasting Network:
As a longtime public affairs director for the diocese, Mutty views himself and the coaliton as defending the traditional definition of marriage and the role it plays in society. To redefine it by allowing same-sex couples to marry, Mutty says will lead to curriculum changes in the schools.
“And many certainly feel uncomfortable about that, and the fact that children as young as seven or eight years old are going to be taught about gay sex in some detail.”
If Maine gets marriage equality then seven year old kids will be taught about gay sex in detail?
That’s completely and entirely irrational. Second graders aren’t taught about straight sex and heterosexuals have been getting married in Maine all year long. No one is going to be telling small children the mechanics of sex between anyone in school.
So either Mutty is a completely delusional nutcase with no cognizance of the world around him and should be put somewhere for his own safety or he’s a bald-faced liar who is seeking to demonize gay people and scare voters with claims that he himself knows to be completely bogus.
Liar or lunatic. There really aren’t any other options.
Maine’s Marriage Equality to go to Vote
September 2nd, 2009
The Secretary of State’s Office has confirmed that groups opposed to same-sex marriage have gathered enough petition signatures to place a repeal effort on the November ballot. David Farmer, spokesman for Gov. John Baldacci, said that the governor signed a proclamation on Wednesday setting up the Nov. 3 vote.
Protect Maine Equality issued the following statement:
“There’s no surprise here. Everyone knew marriage equality would be challenged by a referendum and that’s why our allies began having conversations with Mainers three years ago. We now have nearly 80,000 Mainers who have pledged their support for equality.
“This was a quarter-of-a-million dollar signature effort by a Michigan firm, and it highlights the stark differences in our campaigns. Their’s is a cynical, pay-for-every signature approach that doesn’t reflect the homegrown values of our state.
“By contrast, we have put our trust in the common sense and fair mindedness of our friends, neighbors and co-workers. And that’s why we believe voters will reject Question 1 because here in Maine, we believe everyone should be allowed to live their lives and be treated equally under the law.”
Maine’s Battle For Marriage Is On
July 31st, 2009
Opponents of Maine’s new gay marriage law have submitted petitions seeking a November referendum on the measure. Leaders of the Stand for Marriage campaign said Friday they collected more than 100,000 signatures of registered Maine voters. Cartons containing the petitions have been turned into the secretary of state’s office to be certified.
To qualify for a November referendum, 55,087 signatures need to be certified by Sept. 4. Meanwhile, a July 17 email from Betsy Smith, senior director of Equality Maine, indicates that $241,000 have already poured into the coffers of marriage opponents, including $160,000 from the National Organization for Marriage, $50,000 from the Knights of Columbus, and $31,000 from Focus On the Family. Now it’s time for us to do our part.
Maine Marriage Update
July 22nd, 2009
According the the Family Research Council’s website, anti-marriage activists in Maine appear to have collected enough signatures to allow for an adequate buffer.
Mainers are sending a strong message to their elected officials, who voted in May to redefine marriage. Needing roughly 56,000 petition signatures to place a “People’s Veto” of this legislation on the November ballot, the pro-marriage coalition has exceeded all expectations by collecting over 90,000 and counting.
This does not appear, however, to be the total that has been collected and processed but rather those reported to the the anti-gay effort. We should know at the end of the month the actual number that is turned in.
Anti-Gay Maine Campaign’s Lack of Grassroots Funding
July 15th, 2009
From Bangor Daily News
[Mark Mutty, one of Stand for Marriage Maine’s campaign leaders,] predicted Wednesday that they will file “a very significant amount of signatures well in excess of the minimum” by early August. In addition to [$100,000 from] the Roman Catholic Diocese and [$160,000 from] the National Organization for Marriage, the organization also received $50,000 from the Knights of Columbus in Washington, D.C., and $31,000 from the Focus on the Family Maine Marriage Committee but only $400 from individuals.
Mutty pointed out that his organization’s Web site has only been up for less than two weeks and he predicted that the number of individual donations will increase dramatically as the campaign ramps up.
Well duh. Almost anything would be a dramatic increase over $400.
Connolly said Maine Freedom to Marry has already received support from a national organization, in this case, $25,000 from the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C. But he pointed out that his organization has already received donations from 352 individuals.
I’m sure this means nothing. But it’s interesting to note that at present the battle is between the big religious institutions and the citizens.
Anti-Gays in Maine Claim 70,000 Signatures
July 10th, 2009
According to Everyday Christian,
Earlier this week, about 70,000 signatures had been gathered, with more expected, according to Bob Emrich.
Earlier this week, other press was reporting 55,000. I guess we’ll wait and see.
Maine’s Anti-Gay Signature Collecting Update
July 8th, 2009
Stand For Marriage Maine, the coalition of anti-gay activists who are seeking to overturn Maine’s marriage laws, has announced that they have enough signatures to put their petition on the ballot.
Looking to overturn a bill signed by Governor John Baldacci in May approving same sex marriage, Stand For Marriage Maine announced today that they have collected more than the 55,087 signatures needed to place a People’s Veto on the November ballot and are collecting additional signatures as insurance to meet the deadline to qualify the measure for the 2009 statewide election.
While that makes for a good press release, it doesn’t tell the full story.
As any politico will tell you, a large percentage of the signatures in any collection effort will prove to be invalid for a number of reasons. Some folks are not actually registered to vote, are registered at a different address, are registered under a different name, or provide an illegible signature. Some will agree to sign but will put down a fake name. So petitioners always collect enough extra names to have a substantial cushion.
In mid June, Bob Emrich, the head of the effort, set a goal of collecting 80,000 signatures by the middle of July. At that time they had about 12,000 already collected.
It now appears that they are not on schedule to meet their goal. By now they should have collected a total of 63,000 signatures. And to reach 80,000 by next week, they will have to collect 25,000 signatures, or nearly half of what they collected in the past month. And at this point each additional signature will be harder to get than the one before.
However, it is still very likely that the campaign can meet its goals. The projected cushion of 25,000 is aggressive; and a campaign can usually assume that a 20-25% cushion is adequate and that may well be within their means. And as the campaign doesn’t actually have to turn in the signatures until the end of the month, they can use the extra weeks for signature collection rather than for verification.
But it is encouraging to see that their efforts are not proving to be a smooth or easy as they anticipated. As I said in June, we need to hope for their failure and plan for their success.
An Unequal Flag For Unequal Citizens
July 6th, 2009
This six star “Flag of Equal Marriage” represents the six states which have marriage equality, by order of their entry into the Union. The stars are arranged according to the order in which each state was admitted to the union, skipping over the states that do not have marriage equality. The six stars represent:
- Connecticut – #5.
- Massachusetts – #6.
- New Hampshire – #9 (Effective Jan 1, 2010)
- Vermont – #14 (Effective Sep 1, 2009)
- Maine – #23 (Effective of Sep 14, 2009)
- Iowa – #29
If this flag had been around in 2008, we would have seen California’ star (#31) go dark. There’s a move on right now to darken Maine’s star in November.
[Hat tip: David Schmader]
Fraudulent Maine Marriage Petitioners
June 23rd, 2009
Reports are coming in that some people collecting signatures in opposition to the new marriage law in Maine are doing so under false pretenses (Sun Journal):
Gerard Caron walked into the Auburn Post Office and was met by a woman with a pair of clipboards.
“This petition is against gay marriage and this other petition is to support gay marriage,” she said, according to Caron.
The Poland man said he asked her why there would be a petition to support something that already happened, referring to the petition “in support of” gay marriage.
“She just kinda gave me a little grin and didn’t say anything,” he said.
Then he looked at the two petitions and discovered they were identical, both were supporting the repeal of the same-sex marriage law, Caron said.
Although the Secretary of State thinks that collecting signatures under false pretenses is a “First Amendment issue”, I suspect that if it was shown that this is a widespread deception that a lawsuit claiming fraud could prevail. The language is adequately tricky that persons could reasonably be deceived into thinking they were signing a pro-marriage petition even after reading it.
I just think it is just another example in a long line of instances that illustrates the base immorality of those who will crawl through the gutter to demonstate just how Special They Are To God by denying civil equalities to others.
Anti-Gays Seek to Overturn Maine’s Marriage Law
June 17th, 2009
Maine has a peculiar system by which citizens unhappy with a legislative action can stop and reverse a bill. Called a “people’s veto”, if petitioners collect the signatures of ten percent of voters within 90 days of the end of the legislative session, a question goes on the ballot as to whether the bill should be enacted.
After the legislature enacted marriage equality in Maine, anti-gay activists began to organize to oppose the bill and to seek to get it on the ballot.
“Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?”
The above somewhat-confusing language was prepared on May 19. And the process began. The Everyday Christian website has a progress report on their efforts:
Emrich, a pastor, is the founder of The Jeremiah Project, a conservative non-profit. To date, he said between 10,000 and 12,000 signatures have been collected since late May. The goal, he said, is to get about 80,000 signatures before the petitions are handed in to account for potential duplications and errors.
However, to achieve their ends, the petitioners need to meet a date sooner than 90 days. Unless they file their signatures by August 1, they will miss the deadline for the November election and the article lays out several reasons why anti-gays think November is better for them than the following spring election.
So how likely is it that they will reach their goal?
With 500 and 600 people Emrich is aware of distributing, it now becomes a race against the clock. He said he would like to get petitions back by mid-July to get them certified by individual town clerks before sending them on to the Secretary of State.
In the four weeks since the beginning of the collection process, they have collected about 12,000 signatures. To meet their target date, they will need to collect an additional 68,000 signatures in the following four weeks; or, on average, each one of their 600 volunteers needs to get 114 additional signatures over the next four weeks.
This may not sound particularly large, but a few factors need to be taken into consideration:
- The first 12,000 were probably the easiest. Each additional signature will prove to be more difficult.
- Only about a third of Maine’s residents attend religious services. Of these, about 60% are Catholic. And while Catholic hierarchy stongly opposes marriage equality, lay Catholics are much less inclined to follow the directions of the church on social issues. Assuming that all Evangelical Protestants and half of Catholics are the target audience for signature gatherers – and discounting for 21% of the population below voting age – there is only a pool of about 257,000 adult church members from which to draw signatures.
- Signature gatherers in public places (other than churches) are likely to encounter active opposition.
- Michael Heath, executive director of the Maine Family Policy Council, is known in Maine as being radically exteme, far from the thinking of the average conservative Christian; he’s on par with his friend Peter LaBarbera. While Heath’s taking a public back seat on this issue, his is still probably the name most associated with this effort.
- Michael Heath’s last anti-gay signature collecting effort failed miserably.
- The Republican Party in Maine is not comprised of fire breathers. Both US Senators are Republicans, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, and both are supporting of the gay community. Neither made any criticism of the legislature in their state for enacting marriage and Collins was mentioned today by the President as a sponsor of the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act. The Party is not likely to expend much organizational effort on behalf of the petition.
I think that it will be quite difficult for the anti-gay activists to achieve their goal. But I don’t think it is impossible or even improbable. We need to hope for their failure but plan for their success.
Over the next month, we’ll keep you up to date on whatever we find about the progress of their efforts.
(hat tip to reader Brian)
New Hampshire Would be the Sixth What, Exactly?
May 8th, 2009
New Hampshire could be the sixth gay marriage something-or-other, but finding the language to fit is not a straight-forward task. Considering the methods by which states have reached (and retreated from) marriage rights, putting them in order depends on what one is measuring.
The order in which states have granted recognition to same sex couples
1. District of Columbia 1992 (blocked by Congress until 2002)
2. Hawaii 1997
3. California 1999
4. Vermont 1999
5. Connecticut 2005
6. New Jersey 2004
7. Maine 2004
8. New Hampshire 2007
9. Washington 2007
10. Oregon 2007
11. Maryland 2008
12. Iowa 2009
13. Colorado 2009
The order in which courts have found that states must provide marriage and/or all its rights and benefits to same-sex couples:
1. Hawaii 1993/1997 (reversed by Constitutional amendment)
2. Vermont 1999
3. Massachusetts 2003
4. New Jersey 2006
5. California 2008 (perhaps reversed by Constitutional amendment)
6. Connecticut 2008
7. Iowa 2009
The order in which states provided virtually all of the same benefits as marriage
1. Vermont 1999
2. California 2003 (with subsequent minor adjustments to fix differences)
3. Massachusetts 2003
4. Connecticut 2005
5. District of Columbia 2006 (with adjustment in 2008)
6. New Jersey 2006
7. New Hampshire 2007
8. Oregon 2007
9. Washington 2009
10. Maine 2009
The order in which legal marriages were first performed
1. Massachusetts – 5/17/2004
2. Iowa – 8/31/2007 (only one)
3. California – 6/16/2008
4. Connecticut – 11/4/2008
5. Vermont – 9/1/2009 (Scheduled)
6. Maine – around 9/14/2009 (Scheduled)
The order in which continuous legal marriages began to be offered
1. Massachusetts – 5/17/2004
2. Connecticut – 11/4/2008
3. Iowa – 4/27/09
4. Vermont – 9/1/2009 (Scheduled)
5. Maine – around 9/14/2009 (Scheduled)
And should New Hampshire’s bill be signed, it will be sixth.
RNC Responds to Maine Marriage Bill
May 6th, 2009
At first it looked as though the Republican Party was going to walk away from the Maine marriage decision whistling and looking away as if they didn’t notice. But finally Chairman Michael Steele released the following statement:
Our party platform articulates our opposition to gay marriage and civil unions, positions shared by many Americans. I believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman and strongly disagree with Maine’s decision to legalize gay marriage.
Steele spoke of what “the platform” articulates about “our opposition” rather than trying to suggest that opposition to both marriage and civil unions is the position of a majority of Republicans. Further he said that “many” rather than “most” Americans share the platform’s positions. As for his opinion, he limited it to marriage and didn’t discuss his personal beliefs on civil unions.
There is no suggestion that this is thwarting the will of the people or accusations of undue activism or calls for initiatives. There is no appeal to tradition, God, founding fathers, the fabric of society, or 5000 years of definition.
This two sentence statement appears not to have been broadly released nor was there a press conference. This suggests to me that the Republican leadership wants a low profile about same-sex marriages – especially those passed by a legislature – at this time. I would find it hard to craft a more tepid response.
Whether this is because of a change in perspective, polling data, some new found respect for states rights, or just plain political calculus, I welcome it. And I’m awfully glad that Michael Steele is the current head of the RNC rather than, say, Ken Blackwell.
Maine’s Senators, both of whom are Republican women who have been supportive of gay rights, both stated that they support the rights of the state to determine its own marriage laws. While neither fully came out and endorsed the bill, neither had anything negative to say about it either. This was also the reaction of the White House.
In fact, other than the usual ranting voices endorsing religious oppression, the objection to the actions taken in Maine, New Hampshire, and the District of Columbia have been muted to the extent they have been raised at all.