Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Maine‘s Ballot Question…

Last year there was a bill before the Maine legislature to amend the gender inclusive anti-discrimination law to allow businesses and schools to determine who can use their bathrooms, the bill was defeated. In 2009 they passed a marriage equality law, but it was defeated in a referendum. The effort to defeat the law was spearheaded by a number of conservative organizations. One of those organizations that lead the drive was NOM (National Organization for Marriage) and they were ordered by Maine’s election commission to disclose their funding sources and NOM fought the order all the way up to the Supreme Court, and just this year the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, letting the order stand. The Portland Press reported,
The U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear the first of two appeals by the National Organization for Marriage in its effort to withhold the names of donors who helped fund the 2009 campaign against gay marriage in Maine.

The Washington, D.C.-based organization donated $1.9 million to Stand for Marriage Maine, a political action committee that helped overturn the same-sex marriage law passed by the Legislature in 2009.

The organization has argued that releasing its donor list would stymie free speech and subject donors to harassment.
One of the outcomes of the law suit was NOM had to disclose internal memos and they created quit a stir, Salon said,
The revelation came the week after NOM memos, made public by a Maine court, revealed that they planned to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks” by exploiting religious intolerance of homosexuality. (Another plot involved finding “children of gay parents willing to speak on camera” and denounce their parents.)
Still, NOM is correct that the memo laid out a strategy that mostly involved them not doing anything: They didn’t need to convince black social conservatives to be social conservatives. They needed to convince them to work with a white, Republican-led political organization, which it appears that they largely failed to do. (Finding the “victims” of gay marriage willing to denounce their own parents would’ve surely taken even more effort, and I’m more curious to learn how that project is doing.)
There was also a leak of NOM’s tax information showing a donation to NOM from Mitt Rommey’s campaign of $10,000 to NOM for the California Prop 8 in 2008.

Currently Maine Freedom to Marry Coalition has collected enough signatures to add a ballot question to this November’s ballot.
Secretary of state says same-sex marriage will be on the ballot
Bangor Daily News
By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Posted Feb. 23, 2012

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Secretary of State’s Office on Thursday confirmed that enough signatures have been verified to allow voters in November to decide whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry in Maine.

“After a thorough review, we have determined that 85,216 signatures on the petition are valid,” Secretary of State Charlies Summers said in a press release. “I commend the organizers of this effort for their success in meeting the required threshold. I also want to thank my staff in the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions for their hard work in ensuring that the integrity of the process was preserved and the statutory deadline for the determination was met.”
So once again Mainers will be going to the poll to determine a human rights issue. We the results be different from the 2009 ballot question? There was a poll released last week on the ballot question,
MPRC [Maine People’s Resource Center ] asked: “Do you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose allowing same-sex couples to be legally married in Maine?”

More than 43 percent said they strongly favored legalizing same-sex marriage, while 14.5 percent said they were somewhat in favor. More than 28 percent were strongly opposed and 11.7 were somewhat opposed.
Bangor Daily News
November is still a long ways off and a lot can change between now and then. Will NOM take an active role in the ballot question? Will the election commission force them to disclose their donors? Stay tuned…


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