Bangor student holds same-sex marriage rally

People cheer during a ralley that was held in support of same-sex marriage in Bangor Sunday afternoon.  About 60 people came to the event and many of them spoke about their experiences of being gay or lesbian and their dissapointment over the overturing of the law that would have allowd same-sex couples to marry in Maine.  The ralley was organized by Bangor High School junior Antonia Carroll. (Bangor Daily News/Gabor Degre)
People cheer during a ralley that was held in support of same-sex marriage in Bangor Sunday afternoon. About 60 people came to the event and many of them spoke about their experiences of being gay or lesbian and their dissapointment over the overturing of the law that would have allowd same-sex couples to marry in Maine. The ralley was organized by Bangor High School junior Antonia Carroll. (Bangor Daily News/Gabor Degre)
Posted Nov. 22, 2009, at 7:13 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Who can marry and who can’t comes down to who has a Y chromosome and who doesn’t, a Bangor High School student told a crowd of more than 60 people gathered Sunday in Pickering Square in support of same-sex marriage in Maine.

“What is the difference between a man and a woman getting married and two men or two women getting married?” Antonia Carroll, a 16-year-old junior, asked. “It’s that Y chromosome or lack thereof in one of the partners. Who cares about Y chromosomes?”

Carroll organized the rally for people who volunteered for the recent No on 1 campaign. She was one of about 20 high school students, not yet old enough to vote, who attended the event. Carroll and others spoke emotionally about the Nov. 3 repeal of the same-sex marriage law by a vote of 53 percent to 47 percent.

“We will not stop, and we will not give up until we have equality for all,” she said Sunday.

Rebecca Pelletier, 15, of Bangor, said she came to the rally from Mass at St. Mary Catholic Church in Bangor.

“I spent a really long time in prayer before I got involved in the campaign because I was so conflicted about what to do,” Pelletier, a sophomore at Bangor High School, said Sunday. “I talked to my priest and the leader of my youth group, who told me to do what felt right in my heart.”

The Roman Catholic Diocese raised money for the repeal effort and urged parishioners to vote yes on Question 1. A yes vote favored repeal of the gay marriage law.

Pelletier told the group Sunday that because her parents would not let her stay up late on Election Day, she went to bed “feeling awesome” because the No on 1 side was winning. Pelletier learned the next day that later returns gave the opposition the win.

“There is hope,” Pelletier told the group. “Don’t lose hope. Soon this will come up again and we will win.”

The 15-year-old also said that members of her generation who were not old enough to vote on Nov. 3 would be on the winning side when same-sex marriage becomes law.

Polls show that voters younger than 35 are much more likely than older voters to support changing the law that allows only opposite-sex couples to marry.

Carroll said she organized the event for people who worked on the No on 1 campaign and still are feeling the sting of the loss nearly three weeks later.

“I feel like this is something the community very much needs,” Carroll said in an e-mail announcing the event, “because apparently there are a lot of people who don’t understand how important marriage equality is. I want the message to go out that we will not submit and stop fighting for equality just because of this vote.”

Equality Maine, which spearheaded the effort to allow same-sex marriage in Maine, appears to be thinking along the same lines. The group next month will sponsor a series of community conversations around the state to talk about the defeat and what should be the next step in their efforts toward marriage equality.

The meetings will be held Sunday, Dec. 6, in Augusta; Monday, Dec. 7, in Ogunquit; Tuesday, Dec. 8, in Ellsworth; Wednesday, Dec. 9, in Lewiston; Thursday, Dec. 10, in Bangor; and Tuesday, Dec. 15, in Portland.

Times and locations are available at www.equalitymaine.org.

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