Maine in the Fight for Marriage: Now the People get to Decide

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It’s More Than Marriage: What’s At Stake in Maine

by Pastor Bob Emrich

I don’t know anyone who looks across acres of clear-cut land and calls it tree equality. That makes as much sense as looking at the extreme changes to Maine’s marriage law approved recently by Gov. Baldacci and calling it marriage equality.

Look at the facts and decide for yourself. Let’s start by comparing Maine’s marriage law before and after the change.

The State of Maine held the historic definition of marriage in highest regard throughout Maine law. Maine law told us why “traditional monogamous marriage” was well worth State government protection and promotion. Maine law said, “The union of one man and one woman joined in traditional monogamous marriage is of inestimable value to society..;” The word “inestimable” means too valuable to be measured or fully appreciated.

Maine’s marriage law said: “..the State has a compelling interest to nurture and promote the unique institution of traditional monogamous marriage in the support of harmonious families and the physical and mental health of children;”

That part of the law is full of wonderful, important words. “Compelling” means the State’s interest in historic marriage cannot be refuted. “Nurture” means to cherish, to encourage the growth of. To “promote” means to support. “Unique” means the only one of its kind. An “institution” is a well-established and familiar custom.

That paragraph of Maine’s marriage law ends with, “…and that the State has the compelling interest in promoting the moral values inherent in traditional monogamous marriage.”

Finally, the whole purpose of Maine’s marriage law was, “To encourage the traditional monogamous family unit as the basic building block of our society, the foundation of harmonious and enriching family life;”

Maine legislators and the Governor took every bit of the marriage law I have just outlined for you, clear-cut it, and threw it out as worthless garbage. All that language and, more important, the meaning behind the words, is gone.

It was cut first by a majority of the Maine Legislature who said societies were wrong for thousands of years in valuing “traditional monogamous marriage” as “the basic building block of society.” They came up with their new definition of marriage, which Governor Baldacci signed it into law. It starts with: “Marriage is the legally recognized union of 2 people.”

Baldacci’s new marriage law then redefines all of the historic terms we associate with marriage: Widows aren’t just women. Neither are wives and brides. Husbands, grooms, and widowers aren’t just men. In fact, the Governor’s new marriage law says: “Gender-specific terms relating to the marital relationship or familial relationships, including, but not limited to, ‘spouse,’ ‘family,’ ‘marriage,’ ‘immediate family,’ ‘dependent,’ ‘next of kin,’ ‘bride,’ ‘groom,’ ‘husband,’ ‘wife,’ ‘widow’ and ‘widower,’ must be construed to be gender-neutral for all purposes throughout the law, whether in the context of statute, administrative or court rule, policy, common law or any other source of civil law.”

There you have it. It is a belief among those of us supporting a Peoples Veto of this law on the November 3, 2009 ballot that Mainers deserve a full and honest debate about this radical law and its impact on society short-term, mid-term, and long-term. The one public hearing on this law, in Augusta, on a work day was a very bad call by the legislators involved.

Mainers must have the opportunity to decide if adopting a law redefining historic marriage as gender-free, instead of Maine law saying “..the State has a compelling interest to nurture and promote the unique institution of traditional monogamous marriage in the support of harmonious families and the physical and mental health of children,” is what they want for themselves, their children and grandchildren.


Eshto said...

How dare you compare marriage equality to clear-cutting a forest. Gay marriage does not make straight marriage illegal.

You are the one trying to pass legislation that takes rights away from others. Gay people do not wish you harm, they have no intention of taking your marriage licenses away.

If your precious institution of marriage would crumble simply because 4% of the population currently barred from it are included, then your institution is weak, shallow and meaningless to begin with.

You miss the whole point. Marriage has been special because it provides a socially protected and promoted place where children can be raised in the best possible conditions. That was why society began encouraging it in the first place. You, on the other hand, are trying to hijack it as a vehicle for social recognition of the homosexual lifestyle. How dare you short-change our children to justify your sexual preferences!

You have no more right to redefine marriage to whatever you want than I have to force you to start calling red "Bondoogle." Red is red and marriage is marriage. The more you try to stretch it to include whatever you fancy, the less meaning it will retain and all of its benefits on society will be lost. But you don't care about that, do you? You don't care about the harm your actions will do to society, you just want to destroy marriage for those straight couples that you hate.

Anonymous said...

"Gay people do not wish you harm, they have no intention of taking your marriage licenses away."

Actually since the legalize gay marriage thing is not working out, many gay activists are starting to push for "government to get out of the marriage business altogether." So yeah, you are trying to take marriage away from us.

And what is your motivation for wanting the marriage stamp of approval on your gay relationships? Does it give you any more rights? Nope, most states have equal rights for "civil unions" and marriages. And gay activist have stopped fighting for civil unions because they have their sights set on the greater prize of marriage. But why? Because they want people to ignore the fundamental differences between a a married couple and a gay partnership. They want to bring the status of a homosexual partnership "up" to that of a married couple. But that can't happen because all the unbiased research (and common sense) shows that homosexual parents place children in much greater risk for emotional, psychological and even physical harm than do committed heterosexual issues. And then there's the fact that you're fighting nature: Our bodies and societies are clearly set up to encourage heterosexual reproduction and the raising of children with a mother and a father present. To encourage homosexual parenting is to go against nature and encourage either the mother or the father to be absent. The only way you can justify this is to tear down heterosexual marriage and to say it is not that special and homosexual parenting is just as good (and some liberals have the lying audacity to say better!)

Well, we will keep fighting to protect the sanctity of marriage by not allowing you to redefine it to promote your sexual preferences. We believe the safety of children greatly trump your desire to have your sexual escapades publicly accepted.

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