As a former Maine resident and happily married father of three, I can't tell you how proud I was of my home state the day they legalized gay marriage... or how infuriated the day I heard about the Prop 8-style ballot measure that could undo the whole thing. Now I just have to hope that my former neighbors will have the compassion and enlightenment to realize that allowing same-sex marriage is a good thing. Or at least not an evil thing.
Marriage, as we all know, is a sacred covenant, created by God for His glory and the spiritual unity of His people. In the eyes of religion anyway. But that's not really at issue when it comes to Question 1 is it? In the eyes of THE STATE, marriage is (and I can't stress this enough) just A WORD. One that defines certain legal rights, benefits and protections. These include joint tax filing, living will decisions, property inheritance, hospital visitation, and participation in a spouse's healthcare benefits. Can anyone anywhere explain what any of that has to do with what God considers sacred? How does giving two men a tax credit detract from the sanctity or blessedness of someone else's covenant?
The folks at StandForMarriageMaine.com say that if same-sex marriage remains legal, "The reliance on marriage as an important fabric of society will no longer matter and the marriage laws will not consider what is best for children... particularly as the public schools begin the process of indoctrinating them on the subject of homosexual marriage." I hate to cry hypocrisy, but if people are so concerned about the importance of marriage, why is there not an equally committed (and well-funded) push to overturn the divorce laws in this state? Why aren't they worried about schools indoctrinating their kids on the subject of step dads, single moms and other "non-traditional" families? Why is it only homosexuals who threaten the fabric of society?
It all comes back to the Bible of course. Sure the Stand For Marriage movement has its token atheists, but by and large this is a push by committed Christians who think granting homosexuals the same legal status as heterosexuals will in some way hack off the Creator. They back their case with passages like Leviticus 18:22, which calls homosexuality an abomination. Never mind that seven chapters earlier it makes the same case for shellfish. Yet you don't see many churchgoers having a crisis of conscience over a good lobstah.
In the New Testament we can turn to Paul's first letter to the Corinthians (6:9-10), which says nothing specifically about marriage, but clearly states that homosexuals will not enter the Kingdom of God. Of course, Paul says the same thing about greedy people, drunkards and the verbally abusive. Yet would any of us deny marriage to a Yankees fan, hellbound though they be? Why then selectively interpret laws and Scripture only to the detriment of homosexuals?
Dress it up however you want, it all boils down to hatred. Pure and simple. "I don't hate homosexuals," you gasp. "I just don't think they should be allowed to get married." There were people like that during the Civil Rights era too. They didn't hate black people. They just didn't think they should be allowed to drink from the same water fountain. You may not be the one chanting "nigger" or "faggot", but to suggest that another human being isn't as worthy of x,y,z as you are... brother if that isn't hate, it sure ain't love.
So when you go out this Election Day, please consider what you're voting for on Question 1. Are you truly worried about the sanctity of marriage? Perhaps your time would be better spent keeping straight marriages intact. Worried what your kids will be taught? Perhaps you need to spend a little more time talking to them so they can grapple with these issues intelligently. Or is it fear of what God thinks that's got you nervous? Again, on the state level, "marriage" (even yours) is just a word. It says nothing about (and specifically does not infringe upon) religious institutions. Perhaps then, this is a case where we should "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's."
Please make the right choice, home-staters. Vote NO on 1.
(Troy, ME resident: 1978-1999)