“This is an Onion article, right?” wrote one online commenter. It came in reaction to a July 17 BDN article about two anti-gay activists who commended Gov. Paul LePage for the sexually vulgar Vaseline comments he made about a state senator because they apparently portrayed sodomy in negative terms.
“If this whole sad saga hasn’t made the Colbert Report yet, I have to think it will now,” read another comment.
“Nonsensical,” and “hateful” were other words BDN readers used to describe the press conference where Michael Heath, former executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, and Paul Madore, director of the Maine Grassroots Coalition, asserted that LePage advanced anti-gay causes when he said Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, claims “to be for the people, but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.”
Heath and Madore’s crazy statements — such as that “Maine is being sodomized by the left” and that it’s “refreshing” to hear a leader speak about sodomy in “the proper context” — would be more frightening if others took them seriously. But they don’t.
We won’t elaborate on how sodomy — anal or oral sex — is practiced by both gay and straight couples. Or on how Heath and Madore made it appear they approve of anal rape “jokes” but not consensual sex.
But we would like to point out that the swift and harsh reaction to Heath and Madore’s statements shows just how far the state has come.
Just 50 years ago, the debate about gay rights was practically nonexistent. Only 40 years ago, in 1973, did the American Psychiatric Association remove homosexuality from its official list of mental disorders.
In January 1993, Lewiston became a center of discontent when the city council voted, 5-2, to enact an ordinance outlawing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Gays and lesbians wanted basic rights to housing, to work, to be served a meal at a restaurant, to get a bank loan. Yet, within a week, residents gathered enough signatures to try to overturn the ordinance at the polls. That November, they succeeded by a margin of two to one.
In February 1998, Maine became the first state to repeal its gay rights law — a statewide version of the Lewiston ordinance that protected gays from discrimination in housing and employment. It wasn’t until 2005 that Maine voters agreed to keep a law that ensured legal protections for gays.
That is the year Heath referred to in an advisory about the press conference, saying that the two men had “held back the pro-sodomy movement until 2005, when the political logjam broke, sweeping all before it. The vile tide of perversion which these forces unleashed is now at a high-water mark.”
It is Heath and Madore, however, who are still swimming, alone and against the current — especially after Maine became one of the first three states, in 2012, to allow same-sex marriage by popular vote. It seems they’re still living in an age the rest of the state would rather leave behind.