Threats made against gay marriage opponents in Maine

The Associated Press
Posted Nov. 09, 2009, at 10:28 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Police are investigating a pair of threats against gay marriage opponents in Maine.

Marc Mutty from Stand for Marriage Maine says a threatening voice mail message was discovered Monday morning at campaign headquarters in which a female caller said, “You will be dead. Maybe not today, not tomorrow. But soon you’ll be dead.” Police in Yarmouth are investigating.

Augusta police say a separate voice mail threat targeted Michael Heath, former leader of the Christian Civic League of Maine and its successor, the Maine Family Policy Council. Heath wasn’t actively involved in the gay marriage campaign, but he fought against a gay rights law in campaigns in 1998, 2000 and 2005.

The incident follows voters’ decision last week to scuttle Maine’s gay marriage law. Mutty says the campaign is taking the threats seriously.

While threats have been made before, Mutty said in a phone interview Monday, they were not direct as was the one left Monday.

“We’ve had threats and comments that were nasty and vulgar,” Mutty said. “They’ve said, ‘I hope you burn in hell,’ and that sort of thing, but there was never any direct death threat alluded to.”

He said that the campaign office would be shut down by the end of the week.

The Rev. Bob Emrich, who worked with Mutty on the Yes on 1 campaign, said he had received phone calls at his home in Palmyra throughout the campaign. He said they did seem to escalate as the election drew nearer.

“Sunday or Monday of last week I got a call from someone who said they hoped I died before Election Day so I wouldn’t know the results,” Emrich said Monday. “I’ve had people ask me where my next meeting was because they were going to make sure I didn’t make it there.”

He said he also has had people he does not know but who recognize him from press coverage stop him in store parking lots and restaurants to thank him for his work in support of traditional marriage.

Monday’s incident isn’t the only backlash after the vote, according to The Associated Press.

On Sunday, same-sex marriage supporters protested outside the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland. WGME-TV says people taped their mouths shut in the silent protest. Bishop Richard Malone had urged Catholics to reject gay marriage.

A similar peaceful protest that did not include taped mouths was held about 10 a.m. Sunday in Bangor, Greg Music of Bangor said Monday. About 40 people gathered at the Williams Park on Newbury Street, then walked about two blocks to stand across the street from St. John Catholic Church on York Street.

“We want people to know how much hurt was caused [by the repeal of same-sex marriage],” Music said.

The march was planned so people would see the group as they went into the church for 10:15 a.m. Mass.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland gave more than $550,000 to the campaign to repeal the law, including more than $150,000 from its general treasury, between Oct. 1 and 23, the last reporting deadline before the election. The Portland diocese also collected more than $200,000 for Stand for Marriage Maine from bishops and dioceses outside Maine.

“People felt we needed to be seen by the institution that gave so much money to the campaign,” Music said.

Drivers honked their horns in support of the group, he said. Others told protesters they disagreed with the Catholic Church’s stand and supported same-sex marriage, according to Music.

At least one man crossed the street to tell protesters why he had voted to repeal the same-sex marriage law.

“It was a very gentle kind of discussion and respectful,” Music said.

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/11/09/politics/threats-made-against-gay-marriage-opponents-in-maine/ printed on August 21, 2014