Marriage-Equality Advocates Not Thrilled With Language In Maine Referendum Ballot

Mainers United for Marriage is happy that the state’s upcoming referendum on same-sex marriage may allow gay and lesbian couples to be legally recognized, but it’s got a bone to pick with the ballot language released last week by Maine’s Secretary of State.


The wording currently proposed by the Secretary of State reads: “Do you want to allow same-sex couples to marry?”

But supporters says the ballot doesn’t make it clear the measure purposely limited to civil marriage and would protect clergy from performing same-sex weddings if it went against their religious principles.

“The question, as currently drafted, falls short,” said MUM campaign manager Matt McTighe. “It fails to address important parts of the initiative that will be on the ballot in November.”

“The current draft ballot language—while apparently straightforward—is not faithful to the intent of this initiative, and it does not capture the additional religious protections that are included in the citizens initiative,” said pastor Michael Gray of Old Orchard Beach United Methodist Church, who supports marriage equality. “I could not, in good faith, support this initiative if it did not make explicit that no church, member of the clergy or other religious institution can be required to perform or host any marriage that is a violation of their religious beliefs. Religious freedom matters to me and other members of the Mainers United for Marriage coalition.”

McTighe says Mainers United for Marriage plan to submit a formal response to the draft question ” “to more accurately reflect the citizen’s initiative that was signed by more than 105,000 Mainers,” during the 30-day public comment period ending July 16.

Comments on the proposed question may be filed with the Secretary of State by email at [email protected]; by mail at Secretary of State, Attn: Public Comment, 148 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0148; or by hand at the Secretary of State’s Office. Public comments must be received by 5pm on Monday, July 16.

Photo: Cameron Nordholm

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  • TommyOC

    It’s highly offensive that the clergyman quoted in this article simultaneously supports marriage equality but is too ignorant to realize no one can force a religious body to perform a ceremony it doesn’t want to perform.

    This clergyman’s support for marriage equality is watered down by his fear that the pervasive “gay agenda” threatens to overrun people of faith like himself.

  • Bee

    Omg are u kidding me, look how far behind we are talk about civil rights…”do you want to allow same-sex couples to marry” what kind of shit is that why do da majority get to vote on da rights of the minority, basically they’re dictating our lives “this wont effect u but do u think that these people should be able to eat cake” hmmm no i dnt den its like ok sorry dey said no its like wtf are u serious…i can’t

  • w.e.

    Actually, I kind of like the wording.

  • B

    The people who pushed Proposition Eight claimed that churches that opposed same-sex marriages would be compelled in some way to perform them. Of course, that was a lie – the California Supreme Court decision that allowed same-sex marriages specifically stated that religious organizations were not required to perform marriages that violated their beliefs. The problem is that the voters aren’t going to read through hundreds of pages of court decisions to find that out.

    The reason some people want the religious exclusion in the summary is that the summary is all some voters read and having the statement there helps reduce the effectiveness of a convincing (to some) but dishonest argument that the other side has used in the past.

  • Tony

    The first amendment should protect members of the clergy right to concinse also the state is prohibited from the same from interfaring in the sacremental life of religious organisations without a compelling goverment interests


  • Tony

    @TommyOC: I think he rasise a legitament question but fails to understand that there is already constitutional and common law president on this issue

  • Alex

    The word that ticks me off the most is “allow.” It implies those are rights someone else can give me. They are not they are rights every human deserves. You do not own someone elses rights nor do you give them to them. You only accept that they have these rights as well.

  • JB

    Maybe it was too early, so we’re going to let you try that again…

  • 1equalityUSA

    Alex, I didn’t catch that “allow” the first time around. Thanks for pointing this out.

  • Over this bullshit

    @Bee: democracies don’t vote on civil rights, nice try though… actually no, lame try though

  • Over this bullshit

    @Bee: I mean I agree with you Bee, it’s not you that’s lame LOL

Comments are closed.