Summer of conflict denied advocates of marriage ban<BR>The Maine Archive on the Queer Resources Directory

Thursday, April 3, 1997


Summer of conflict denied advocates of marriage ban

Same-gender marriage isn't an issue - but discrimination is.

©Copyright 1997 Guy Gannett Communications

For principle's sake, Gov. King should have vetoed the citizen-initiated ban against same-gender marriages that passed the Legislature last week. For civility's sake, he should have done just what he did: Let it become law without his bold ''Angus S. King'' signature, thus avoiding a public referendum.

The effect of this is to rob anti-gay activists of another summer of division and strife - this time, over an ''issue'' that doesn't exist. No one, to our knowledge, is proposing the state legally recognize marriages between people of the same gender. The fear that married gays from Hawaii will descend on Maine - should the former state lose a court appeal and be ordered to recognize such marriages - is a thin one, at best.

''This bill will briefly become law in Maine but it will not have my name on it,'' King said, alluding to the fact it is probably unconstitutional anyway. The U.S. Constitution's Article I says states shall not ''pass any . . . law impairing the obligation of contracts.'' The last time we checked, that included marriages.

The new law must have been important to its supporters, because it opened the way superbly for legislators to feel free, now, to pass ''An Act to End Discrimination'' (L.D. 1116). The bill, introduced by Sen. Joel Abromson, R-Portland, adds sexual orientation to the categories protected against discrimination by the Maine Human Rights Act.

No one should have to fear for one's job or be denied housing or credit because one is gay, or someone thinks he or she is gay. With L.D. 1116, legislators should say so, overwhelmingly.

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