A Gay Rights Defeat in Maine

Gay marriage law is repealed in Maine

On November 3, Maine residents, by a very slim majority, voted Yes to the Question 1 Amendment, effectively repealing the state’s same-sex marriage law which had been signed by into law this past April. The defeat, the culmination of a hard-fought battle that angered most, saddened some, and left others looking to the fight ahead, was unexpected and it took gay rights leaders in Maine by surprise.

Many LGBT activists and ordinary citizens in Maine were further disheartened by President Obama’s lack of engagement in the Maine Question 1 debate, questioning the President’s sincerity or devotion in regards to LGBT issues. President Obama did not travel to Maine at all on behalf of opponents of Question 1 and never even spoke out in opposition to the amendment or in defense of Maine’s short-lived law allowing same-sex marriage. “President Obama missed an opportunity to state his position against these discriminatory attacks with the clarity and moral imperative that would have helped in this close fight,” Freedom to Marry’s Evan Wolfson told the Associated Press. “The anti-gay forces are throwing mil- lions of dollars into various unsubtle ads aimed at scaring people, so subtle statements from the White House are not enough.”

In total, 53 percent of Maine voters supported the amendment, which promised to "reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages." Nevertheless, LGBT activists in Maine tried to maintain a positive outlook. “We’re in this for the long haul. For next week, and next month, and next year— until all Maine families are treated equally. Because in the end, this has always been about love and family and that will always be something worth fighting for,” said No on 1 Campaign Manager Jesse Connolly in a post-election press release. Same-gender marriage has lost in all 31 states in which it has been put to a popular vote. In an all too familiar pattern, in Maine as in California, citizens eagerly flocked to the ballot box to rescind the very marriage rights they take for granted from their fellow citizens. Activists insist this new loss does not signal the end of the national same-sex marriage rights movement, though proponents of same sex marriage rights nationwide are divided on whether to pursue a federal or a local (state by state) level strategy.

What Do You Think?