The gay-rights movement has suffered a harsh defeat at the hands of voters in Maine. The voters repealed a law that allowed for same-sex marriage — reducing the states allowing same-sex marriage or civil unions. Maine is now the 31st state to reject same-sex marriage. [The two men on the state seal are now strictly prohibited from marrying each other in the State of Maine].
With most polls reporting, 53 percent of voters had approved the repeal. At the same time, a liberal measure passed with voters expanding the state’s 10-year-old medical marijuana law — keeping Maine as the third state with New Mexico and Rhode Island allowing marijuana dispensaries. Thirteen states have legalized medical marijuana.
Notably, the other states — Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire and Vermont — have legalized same-sex marriage through court rulings and legislative action. No state has passed a same-sex measure by popular vote.
The only hopeful news is that the vote was relatively close. One has to wonder how President Obama might have made a difference if he supported the law. Obama declined to even state support for the law or a similar campaign in Washington state and Kalamazoo. Obama appears to have forgotten his campaign promises to the gay community to fight for their rights. Even after a year in office, the Administration has yet to even end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy — something that Obama can do unilaterally. With such a close vote in Maine, the President’s support might have made the difference.
Personally, while I support recognizing marriage for gay couples as an alternative, I remain convinced that the best approach is for all couples to register civil unions with the states and leave the term “marriage” to individual religions to define, here.
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