Yes on 1 campaign rallies supporters in Brewer

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Posted Oct. 27, 2009, at 10:07 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — With just a week to go before Election Day, supporters of the effort to reverse Maine’s same-sex marriage law gathered Tuesday to discuss what they could do to help ensure the law’s repeal.

Among their top concerns were the law’s implications for education and on how churches operate.

“It just is crazy to say it’s not going to be taught and promoted” in schools and in the media, said the Rev. Bob Emrich, a Protestant and pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Plymouth.

“It’s absolutely an organized effort to normalize what is not,” he said of the state’s same-sex marriage law. In the world’s 5,000 years of recorded history, he said, marriage has “always been between a man and a woman.”

Tuesday night’s session at Jeff’s Catering, which was part rally and part get-out-the-vote effort, came one day after Portland-based Pan Atlantic SMS Group released survey results suggesting that Question 1 opponents held a roughly 8 percent lead, with 52 percent of respondents indicating they support allowing same-sex cou-ples to marry and 40 percent saying they would vote to repeal the law.

Asked about it just before Tuesday’s gathering got under way, Emrich expressed some skepticism about the survey’s findings.

“It’s kind of interesting that every other poll — nationally and in Maine — shows it to be dead even,” said Emrich, who led Tuesday’s discussion and question and answer session.

“I think it’s so close that it’ll be decided by turnout at the polls next week,” he said.

Later, during the session, Emrich also said he didn’t put much stock into editorials supporting the same-sex marriage law that have been published in such newspapers as the Bangor Daily News and the Portland Press Herald. As he sees it, the editorial positions do not reflect the views of either paper’s readership or staffs but rather those of “a very small handful of people.”

Dena Worcester of Harmony, who organized Tuesday’s forum, said she was disappointed by the light turnout but that she was encouraged by the people she has encountered during her effort to gather support for repealing LD 1020. Fewer than 20 people showed up for the event.

“Most people believe in the need to protect traditional marriage,” she said, putting out a call for campaign contributions and volunteers.

During the session, Emrich noted that LD 1020 “does not just extend rights to another group of people” but rather “radically redefines marriage for the state of Maine.

“As a pastor, I already have the right to say yes or no” when asked to perform a same-sex wedding ceremony. If the state’s law is not repealed, he cautioned, Maine will be “setting up a situation where it could be challenged” in court.

He also noted that a same-sex marriage law in Massachusetts resulted in some unintended consequences, including Catholic Charities of Boston’s having to give up its adoption license because placing children in same-sex marriage households conflicted with its religious beliefs.

“That’s what will happen in Maine,” he warned.

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