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Even Mainiacs Recognize that Human Rights are for Humans

6 May, 2009

Today, the governor of Maine signed into law a bill passed through both legislative  chambers of the state house. (from Maine.gov)

AUGUSTA – Governor John E. Baldacci today signed into law LD 1020, An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom.

“I have followed closely the debate on this issue. I have listened to both sides, as they have presented their arguments during the public hearing and on the floor of the Maine Senate and the House of Representatives. I have read many of the notes and letters sent to my office, and I have weighed my decision carefully,” Governor Baldacci said. “I did not come to this decision lightly or in haste.”

“I appreciate the tone brought to this debate by both sides of the issue,” Governor Baldacci said. “This is an emotional issue that touches deeply many of our most important ideals and traditions. There are good, earnest and honest people on both sides of the question.”

“In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions,” Governor Baldacci said. “I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.”

“Article I in the Maine Constitution states that ‘no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor be denied the equal protection of the laws, nor be denied the enjoyment of that person’s civil rights or be discriminated against.’”

“This new law does not force any religion to recognize a marriage that falls outside of its beliefs. It does not require the church to perform any ceremony with which it disagrees. Instead, it reaffirms the separation of Church and State,” Governor Baldacci said.

“It guarantees that Maine citizens will be treated equally under Maine’s civil marriage laws, and that is the responsibility of government.”

“Even as I sign this important legislation into law, I recognize that this may not be the final word,” Governor Baldacci said. “Just as the Maine Constitution demands that all people are treated equally under the law, it also guarantees that the ultimate political power in the State belongs to the people.”

“While the good and just people of Maine may determine this issue, my responsibility is to uphold the Constitution and do, as best as possible, what is right. I believe that signing this legislation is the right thing to do,” Governor Baldacci said.

Please not the wo paragraphs I have highlighted.  First, he changed from a suporter of civil unions to a supporter of marriage rights through the concept of fairness and equal protection.  What a wonderful concept — equal protection under the law. 

Second, note that the governor stresses that no church will be required to perform marriages for same-sex couples.  Stressing the idea of separation of church and state, an important part of our federal constitution, he notes that the doctrine prevents the state from forcing the church to do things that are against the church’s doctrine. 

Now, 10% of our states (and a smaller percentage of the population (these aren’t large states)) recognize, either through court rulings based on constitutional law or through laws passed by the state legislatures, that the human right of marriage applies to all adults, not just those couples which churches a set of two-thousand year old myths may or may not approve.  Bravo.

And, as more and more states recognize that human rights are for all humans, not just a few, the radical religious right will, most likely, continue to freak out on a truly royal scale.  NOM will continue.  2M4M will continue.  The idiocy will continue.

And no, Reginald Genovese, it will not affect the economy.

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7 comments

  1. Actually it is affecting the economy; places in the Northeast are seeing a surge of business related to same-sex weddings. So take that Reggie.

    I noticed the 10% thing today-it is cool. Let’s hope it continues.


  2. Kate: Iowa is also experiencing a surge for businesses associated with weddings.

    Back in college, I had a professor who, in every class, managed to work in the comment that “Karl Marx was wrong about almost everything. The only thing he got right was that history happens because of money.” I suspect that, as businesses see how much money is flowing to the states allowing full human rights, they will pressure the legislatures to follow suit just to keep the money in the state. I hope we are near that tipping point.


  3. The city of Washington, DC recently passed legislation (I think within the past couple of days) to recognize same-sex marriages authorized by other jurisdictions. Congress has 30 days to reject it. If Congress doesn’t do anything, it will then become law.


  4. Chappie: I spotted that one, also. The governor of New Hampshire is, right now, trying to decide whether or not to sign a gay marriage bill in his state. I figure I’ll cover them when they become law rather than all of the preliminary politics.


  5. I know a guy who has been cool with the idea of civil unions because he just wants to have the rights that come with that, and doesn’t care what it’s called (note – he’s not an American citizen). Two things, perhaps because he’s not from the US, have stood out for me about this that he’s not seeing:

    1) This is about equality, a (perhaps) uniquely American promise which is not fully realized yet, and separate but equal is not equality

    2) As long as there is a separation, there will be those who will make it their life’s work to make sure the two aren’t equal, like in AK where you have to be “married” in order to adopt.


  6. Philly: And remember the case in Florida when they refused to allow a life-partner to be with her lover as she died. Despite having a civil union. Despite having POA.


  7. I congratulate, it seems excellent idea to me is



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