According to National Organization for Marriage’s Thomas Peters:

With Gay Marriage Advocates Filing a SSM Initiative in Maine

…will other gay marriage activists renounce their mantra that “civil rights should never be voted on by the people”?

They’ve been saying that, oh, in every state where NOM has been working to allow the people to vote to decide the issue.

Or was that argument of theirs just a canard?

The reason that we do not have marriage equality in Maine is simple. The Roman Catholic Church had a shit fit when the legislature approved marriage equality. The Portland Archdiocese created a “people’s veto” campaign      with NOM’s help of course. The Archdiocese even “lent” its administrator to head up the campaign which was marked with bigotry and the undercurrent that gay people are a threat to children. At the time I stated (I believe on the Blend) that I thought we would lose. We were far too nice and civil while the church was vicious and dishonest. But I digress.

Mr. Peters (without realizing it) is indulging in a common form of flawed rhetoric. He is suggesting that two things are mutually exclusive that are not. Let me try to provide some adult supervision.

  • We continue to believe (I am sufficiently certain to use the collective “we”) that our civil rights should not be submitted to popular vote.
  • Indeed, historically, every major civil rights advancement in the United States has been achieved through the courts and, in some cases, the legislature. It is also possible that a ruling in Perry v. Brown could affect our position in Maine.
  • Were we to seek a legislative solution, the Church, along with the Knights of Columbus, NOM and other Catholic groups as defenders of the faith, would certainly be able to gather enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot again.
  • Thus we choose to return to the ballot directly. Since 2009, our people on the ground have made significant gains which we believe will translate into success at the polls.
  • Independent of our gains, I suspect that Mainers have a new appreciation of the Establishment Clause and its effect with respect to this issue. 
  • Undoubtedly, NOM will be shouting Gay marriage will be taught in schools!! It didn’t mean anything the first time around. Maine voters are smarter than that.
  • Should we lose, guess what? We will continue to try until we achieve equality. Frank Schubert was mistaken. We will never give up.

In other words, it is moronic to suggest that the gay community is either being hypocritical or inconsistent. We take marriage equality far more seriously than Mr. Peters’ rhetorical misadventure.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.