Mainers will go to the polls Tuesday to decide whether Maine should become the 11th state in the nation with a gay-rights law.
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Gay rights groups such as Maine Won't Discriminate have battled against conservative religious groups such as the Christian Civic League of Maine ever since Gov. Angus King set the election date back in November.
Leaders of Maine Won't Discriminate claim that their opponents have misled voters with unsubstantiated claims about what the law would do.
''They are getting away with all their deceptions,'' said Joe Cooper, a spokesman for Maine Won't Discriminate. ''They just might get away with enforcing their radical opinions on the rest of the community.''
Groups opposing the law say they are portraying the issue accurately, but have received unfair treatment from Maine's media.
''I don't know if it's the publishers, the owners or the reporters,'' said Michael Heath, executive director of the Christian Civic League. ''But it certainly looks like Maine people are being given a one-sided presentation by much of the media.''
Polls show that more than 60 percent of Mainers support gay rights, but the vote is still expected to be close. Groups opposing the law have a strong core of supporters that could dominate an election that is expected to draw a low voter turnout.
The ballot question asks voters if they want to repeal a law the Legislature passed last spring that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in credit, employment, housing and public accommodations.
A yes vote would kill the law. A no vote would allow the law to take effect 30 days after the election results become official.
Gay rights advocates have fought for more than 20 years to get a statewide gay-rights law in Maine. The Legislature had considered and rejected nine different proposals over the years before approving a gay-rights bill last spring.
King signed the bill into law, but was forced to set the special election when opponents last summer gathered more than 58,000 signatures on a petition to block the bill.
King has advocated the law during the campaign, serving as the narrator in one of Maine Won't Discriminate's television ads.
Heath has criticized King for his stance on the issue.
''He believes and promotes the lies of the supporters of homosexuality,'' Heath said.
Maine Won't Discriminate has criticized Heath for promoting discrimination. They circulated a fund-raising letter Heath wrote in November.
''If a Maine businessman or landlord wants to discriminate against a person because of their sexual orientation, they should be able to do so,'' Heath wrote.
Heath defended the letter by saying that his opponents are thinking only of the negative meaning of ''discriminate.''
'' 'To be discriminating.' Does that not have a positive connotation?'' Heath said. ''It used to have. I think it still does.''
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