Thursday, May 7, 2009

Opponents challenging new Maine gay marriage law: Are the religious-conscience objectors gaining momentum?

05/07/09 AP:

Under Maine's Constitution, any Maine registered voter may circulate a people's veto referendum to overturn statutes. "Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said Thursday that opponents [of same-sex marriage] filed a challenge under the state's 'people's veto' provision. It allows for a referendum to overturn laws if opponents can collect enough signatures."

Source of AP reference: Gay Marriage Watch

The Secretary of State website identifies Mike Heath, executive director of the Maine Family Policy Council, as a proponent of

"An Act to Remove Protections Based on Sexual Orientation from the Maine Human Rights Act, Eliminate Funding of Civil Rights Teams in Public Schools, Prohibit Adoptions by Unmarried Couples, Add a Definition of Marriage, and Declare Civil Unions Unlawful."

Heath tells opponent's of Maine's new marriage-equality law that he will host a 2009 Truth Tour. The Truth Tour begins with Peter LaBarbera's talk on The Zero-Sum Game: How Gay Rights and 'Same-Sex Marriage' Undermine Religious Freedom.

Will religious-liberty objections frame the next round of opposition to legalization of same-sex marriage? The National Organization for Marriage has just launched its "No Offense" Religious Liberty Ad Campaign, based in part on a letter from law "professors Thomas C. Berg, Carl H. Esbeck, Richard W. Garnett, and Robin Fretwell Wilson to the Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives (April 20, 2009)." (About the letter, see my 04/21/09 post.) Wilson offers evidence that religious-conscience opponents are not raising "speculative concerns."

Heath engages in ad hominem when he thinks it serves his purpose. See, for example, his digital hoax showing Fidel Castro standing next to Maine Governor Governor John Baldacci. But whether or not he makes ad hominem attacks, Health told the Baptist Press that "a vote on 'gay marriage' -- which will take place either in November or in the summer of 2010 -- would be the costliest and most high-profile people's veto in state history. The Baptist Press also reports that the National Organization for Marriage has pledged volunteers and resources to the referendum campaign.

Source of Baptist Press reference: ADF Alliance Alert

05/08/09 update

05/08/09 LA Times:

LA Times reporter Jessica Garrison and Maureen Dolan address the likely impact of recent developments on California if the state Supreme Court upholds Prop. 8. They also report that "Heath said he expects Maine to be influenced by California: 'The fact that Prop. 8 passed has been a source of encouragement.'"

05/09/09 Concord Monitor:

"The deadline for opponents to collect at least 55,087 signatures will probably fall in mid-September, about the time the same-sex marriage law is due to take effect. However, the law would be stayed as soon as the signatures are submitted for review by election officials. And the timing of when petitions are turned in will determine whether the referendum can be scheduled for this November or June 2010." Other "People's Veto" propents now include Marc Mutty of the Roman Catholic Diocese and Bob Emrich, founder of the Maine Jeremiah Project.

05/15/09 update

05/15/09 Gay Marriage Watch (quoting the Portland Herald Press):

"The three groups have filed applications with the Secretary of State's Office for a statewide referendum on the law. The Secretary of State is expected to approve the wording of a ballot question next week, after which the groups may begin collecting the 55,087 signatures needed to put the so-called people's veto before voters."

05/20/09 update

05/20/09 Bangor Daily News (Source: Gay Marriage Watch):

"AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine election officials on Tuesday approved the question that would appear on the ballot if opponents of the recently enacted same-sex marriage law collect enough signatures ... Groups seeking to overturn the law through the people’s veto process filed the necessary paperwork with the Secretary of State’s Office the day after the governor signed the bill. The filing of the application for petitions stayed the enactment of the law, so same-sex couples will have to wait to get married until after voters have a chance to weigh in on the question."

1 comment:

MattyMatt said...

That seems crazily excessive -- eliminating civil rights education and banning adoptions? Are they really going for ALL THAT? Or is some of it going to get stripped away until it's just about marriage?

Commentators, Subjects and Cases