Considering the future of marriage

Posted Oct. 30, 2009, at 8:40 p.m.

What will it mean if Yes on 1 prevails on Election Day? That question is at the heart of Question 1 on the Nov. 3 ballot. The answer is simple. Yes on 1 prevailing on Election Day means Maine will keep the legal definition of marriage as the union of one woman and one man. If Yes on 1 fails on Nov. 3, Maine will have a radical redefining of marriage as only “the union of two people.” All legal terms related to marriage and the family (i.e., bride, groom; husband, wife) will be “gender-neutral.”

Those are facts, not opinion.

Is it in Maine’s best interest to scrap the thousands of years old institution of marriage? We must consider the answer to that question not just for Mainers living today, but for all future generations of Mainers. Stand for Marriage Maine Yes on 1 agrees with current Maine law: Marriage between one woman and one man is the basic building block of society.

A loving home with a married mother and father remains the best environment for the physical and mental well-being of children. Are all families made up of a biological mother and father with children? No.

A Yes on 1 vote is not, as our opposition claims, a statement about other families. In some families — single parents, divorced heads of households, guardians, children living with grandparents — marriage is not even involved. Question 1 is all about marriage.

Proponents of legal homosexual marriage in Maine would have us all believe redefining marriage will have no negative consequences on individuals or society at large. That defies common sense. Also, homosexual marriage proponents have yet, even at this late hour in the campaign, to tell Maine what is so terribly wrong with traditional marriage that it must be torn from our law books, tossed to the curb like yesterday’s newspaper.

We are told married couples in Maine have legal benefits unavailable to same-sex couple. Is that a reason to redefine marriage? While Maine’s pending same-sex marriage law, LD 1020, was being considered by the Legislature, there was a companion bill, LD 1118. State Rep. Les Fossel’s bill would have changed Maine law so that domestic partnerships — straight and gay — would have the exact legal standing as married couples.

Rep. Fossel’s bill was rejected outright by homosexual marriage proponents. Why? Because Fossel’s bill protected the legal definition of marriage: one woman, one man.

Is the No on 1 goal to obtain legal benefits for same-sex couples? Or is it to destroy the traditional marriage? If it is the former, why reject a bill offering every one of those benefits?

Along with protecting traditional marriage, Yes on 1 speaks of some consequences of legalizing homosexual marriage in Maine. Homosexual marriage will be discussed in classrooms with Maine grade school students. Individuals and small-business owners with religious conscientious objections to same-sex marriage will be newly open to litigation. Our opponents ignored letters from five legal scholars asking them to avoid such lawsuits by strengthening such legal protections in the pending same-sex marriage law. Homosexual marriage proponents refused.

After same-sex marriage was legalized in Massachusetts it was introduced more than ever before as a grade school topic. If marriage in Maine is redefined as a legal “any two will do,” that definition will be used in classrooms.

Maine has a well-developed structure in place to advance gay issues in schools, including the Gay Straight Alliance in schools statewide and the Gay Lesbian School Education Network. The state-sanctioned Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Questioning Youth Commission recommends hiring gay advocates in every Maine school. Maine’s state education code neither requires nor prevents teaching about homosexual marriage.

Our opponents say Maine parents can opt kids out of such classroom discussions. Yes. Same-sex marriage is not legal in Maine. In Massachusetts, where it is legal, two large groups supporting homosexual marriage in Maine — Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD — told the federal 1st District Court such a parental opt-out is likely unconstitutional.

Is Maine wise to simply trust the shifting words of homosexual marriage advocates? We think not. Avoid such consequences. Protect traditional marriage. Vote Yes on 1.

Marc Mutty is chairman of the Stand for Marriage Maine Committee and a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

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