Maine Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

Maine’s Gov. John Baldacci deserves praise for signing this bill into law because in the past he opposed gay marriage:

Gov. John Baldacci on Wednesday signed a gay marriage bill passed just hours before by the Maine Legislature.

Baldacci made his announcement within an hour of the Maine Senate giving its final approval to LD 1020. The Senate voted 21-13 in favor of the measure after a short debate.

“In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions,” Baldacci said in a written statement. “I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.”

The House of Representatives gave its approval on a 89-57 vote Tuesday.

The governor’s signature makes Maine the fifth state to allow gay marriage.

Gov. Baldacci’s official statement is here.

Another first, writes Nancy Polikoff at The Bilerico Project:

With this legislation, Maine becomes the first state to enact marriage for same-sex couples through legislation without first enacting civil unions. It will remain in that category even if New Hampshire and New Jersey pass marriage bills later this year, as both those states now have civil unions for same-sex couples.

In a post written before Maine’s governor signed the legislation, Alex Koppelman reports that the Washington, D.C. Council has voted to recognize same-sex marriages:

The latest threat to all things good and holy — if opponents of same-sex marriage can be believed — is right here in the nation’s capital. The D.C. Council approved, by a 12-1 vote Tuesday night, a bill that would grant recognition in Washington to gay and lesbian marriages performed in other states.

The bill, which Mayor Adrian Fenty is expected to sign, wouldn’t allow gay marriages to be performed in D.C., but it would mean the city would treat gay and lesbian couples who wed in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and Iowa (and soon, possibly, Maine) the same way as straight married couples. Gay couples could file joint D.C. tax returns, and would be entitled to pension and health care benefits as spouses, not just domestic partners. The Human Rights Campaign called the move a “common-sense” thing to do; supporters say a full marriage law won’t be far behind.

Another nail in the coffin for the “activist courts” argument, notes John Aravosis:

What’s important here is that Maine now becomes the second state to legalize gay marriages through the legislative process. The number one argument that religious right bigots and their Republican and Mormon friends use against permitting gays full civil rights is that only “activist judges” have granted those rights, and if only we would leave it up to the people through their elected representatives. In Vermont and now Maine the elected representatives have legalized gay marriage.

The times, they are a-changing:

The debate has shifted — politically, legally, culturally, morally. The number of Americans who would deny the right to marry to consenting adults is shrinking — quickly. Social norms relating to respect and equality for all are experiencing a sea change, and the old way simply isn’t coming back.

Once again, the personal connection factor comes into play:

… A friend from Maine says the Gov. is very close to his out lesbian sister; she expected the signing to come quickly. It’s just hard to tell someone you’ve known and loved and fought with from birth that you don’t think she should have the same rights and responsibilities that you do. …

On the other hand, one of the legislators — Rep. Sheryl Briggs, Democrat from a Maine town named, humorously, Mexico — voted No on the bill despite the fact her daughter is gay:

Briggs said she struggled with the bill — calling it “the most difficult decision” she’s ever had to make — but ultimately could not support it.

“The deepest part of my soul tells me this is wrong,” she said.

Via Don Surber, who quotes more of the statement she made:

She said: “Blame it on my upbringing, or the Good Book, but the deepest part of my soul tells me that this is wrong. I can’t change how I feel. These feelings run very deep. I have kept this secret (about her daughter) within me for 15 years, but because of who I am, and where I am today, and as a member of this legislative body, ethically, it is my duty, and my responsibility, to publicly say to my daughter, that I do not support her way of life.

“I have no choice. I have to hit that button.”

Odd that Briggs should say she “has no choice” but to vote against marriage equality when she believes her daughter’s sexual orientation is a “way of life” rather than a natural, inherent part of her individual sexuality. Her daughter chose to be a lesbian, but Rep. Briggs did not freely choose to vote against her daughter’s right to be treated equally?

How painful it must be to have one’s own mother take a public position like that.

3 Responses to “Maine Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage”

  1. Booogie-Mann says:

    This past election cycle some 17 States voted on same-sex marriage. Overwhelmingly the voters rejected same-sex marriage this time, and every time it’s been on the ballot. Activist judges have disenfranchised voters in all these cases by wiping out their vote through Judicial action. This is NOT how our system is supposed to work.

    At least in Maine the Legislature took up the issue. The Legislature makes the Law, not the Court. I don’t care if Maine passes same-sex marriage, what offends me the most is the Hubris of our Courts overturning people’s votes.

  2. I just released a podcast about the Gay Marriage bill that just passed here in Maine.

    Check it out here:

    http://www.weboflight.com/?p=1349

    Dr Kevin and Mark Berry discuss gay marriage, the separation of church and state, and the religious foundation of our country. Their talk includes a brief look at civil unions and the moral conflict between protesting birth control and promoting fertility treatments.

  3. MrReal says:

    Three solid ways to save billions of dollars a year in health costs without one drop less medical care for anyone…
    A. Eliminate all HMO’s…
    B. Eliminate all IPA’s…
    C. Create one simple billing form for all insurance companies & Medi-Care & Medi-Caid..
    D. Al billing done with Debit type card carried by insured, money transferred into MD & Hosp. accounts thereby eliminating 8% now paid for medical billing.
    E. Insurance companies eliminating billing & coding will also save up to 10%.
    F. Insurance companies insuring 100% of all people will also no longer need underwriter’s.
    E. Total insurance company savings form the above better then 20%.
    F. Savings from all of the above more than enough to insure 100% of all the people without any negative effects on anyone other than the laid off workers. The additional workers needed in the overall health field will more than make up for the loss in the insurance field.

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