Friday, Oct. 23, 2009, Letters to the Editor

Posted Oct. 22, 2009, at 6:58 p.m.

History of inclusion

Our history is marked by a widening circle of inclusion. Starting with a system in which only propertied white males counted, we gradually welcomed to full citizenship Native Americans, African-Americans, women, those without property, and those who chose to marry a person of a different race.

Each link in the national chain made us better, more fully free.

Should we affirm the right of individuals to marry someone of the same sex? Why not? Next year we will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary and we never have felt threatened by the partnerships of our gay and lesbian friends.

The opposition seems based on religious grounds, but the nation was founded on religious freedom, and while marriages often are performed in churches, they need not be. In the eyes of the law, marriage is a civil matter and thus a civil right. Those who wish to be married in a church may do so, no matter the results of the referendum.

If you were a black person in Mississippi in the 1950s, would you want your rights determined by an electorate composed overwhelmingly of white people? The rights of a minority should never be subject to referendum by a majority. Such a vote violates every notion of fairness.

The Declaration of Independence says that the pursuit of happiness is an unalienable right. In today’s world, “unalienable” means for all, not just for some. Vote no on Question 1.

Anne and Kent Price

Orland

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No on Question 1

We are urging Mainers to vote no on Question 1 on Nov. 3 to support your neighbor’s, your sister’s, your brother’s or your boss’s choice to marry the adult of their choice.

We like to think of Maine as a place where we respect each other’s privacy and human rights and where protective laws are endorsed: the right of women to vote; no child labor; no segregation; equal access to education; public accommodations for the handicapped; the rights of black Americans to vote. The list goes on.

Yet in this, the 21st century, we still do not have equal rights for homosexuals. We would all be appalled if black Americans were not allowed to marry — which was once the case; if Jews were not allowed to marry Aryans, which was once the case in Nazi Germany; if people with blue eyes were not allowed to marry.

The state’s approval of same-sex marriage is being threatened by bigotry dressed up as religion. Religion has been used across the centuries to justify what the perceived many did not want to share with so-called minorities.

We are asking Mainers to do the right thing and vote no on Question 1.

Phyllis and Kendall Merriam

Rockland

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I like Mike

I’m writing in support of Michael Hurley for Belfast City Council — not because I like him or think his opponents are bad people, but because I think he’ll do the best job for the city.

I served on the council when he was mayor, so I have some personal experience in this arena. But I’ve also seen Hurley’s other work over nearly three decades now. Tireless is the best word I can use to describe his efforts on Belfast’s behalf. And while I don’t always agree with him, I can’t pass up an opportunity to put someone like him back on the team at City Hall.

Some people have great ideas but can’t get things done. Others are hard workers but don’t have any ideas. Hurley can do both. Let’s get him off the bench and back in the game.

Tammy Lacher Scully

Belfast

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Give me a break

The “Yes on One” campaign, paid for by Stand for Marriage Maine, rolled out a new ad on Oct. 16 titled, “Give me a Break.” The ad features a Maine teacher listening to a heavily edited version of NPR’s “All Things Considered” about a Massachusetts debate over gay marriage from 2004. The radio program states that teachers are working on adjusting the curriculum to be “gay friendly’ for kindergarten and up, and then features a teacher describing her interaction with students.

SFMM is sticking with its M.O. If one does not read the small print, it would be believed that this is a lower grade instructor who is teaching younger students essentially how to conduct homosexual intercourse. However, the teacher in the ad is an eighth grade sexual education instructor. If kids don’t know what sex is by eighth grade then they have been substantially sheltered. One student interviewed by NPR even said that it “invalidates the person (he is)” because he did not receive an education featuring homosexual topics. NPR also portrayed a panel of school officials thinking out ways to handle questions that younger children might have about the law.

“You can’t teach as if…any..minority doesn’t exist” said one teacher.

The fact of the matter is that homosexuality isn’t mythical or some sort of disease. You can choose to put your child in a school with an abstinence curriculum. Please be objective and take Yes on One’s campaign with a grain of salt.

Justin Fisk

Orono

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Vote for love

Society is held together by the traditions and institutions which transmit and teach values, rules, and narratives of behavior. It is good to be faithful to history and not to deviate mindlessly from it.

But history moves forward. There are significant times when insights into our nature and experience require that we break through the old ways and follow the way of love — the only absolute norm.

A very significant number of our brothers and sisters have suffered very long and harshly, and mostly secretly, in cultural, religious, and social norms and institutions. But, now we know, and we must change the old ways. We must follow love.

“When history calls, history calls.” Vote for love. Vote no on Question 1.

Carmen Lavertu

Thomaston

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/10/22/opinion/friday-oct-23-2009-letters-to-the-editor/ printed on July 31, 2014