February 28, 2020
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New pro-gay marriage ad features Monroe couple

The Lawsons of Monroe in a new ad supporting same-sex marriage.

PORTLAND, Maine — The campaign supporting a November referendum to allow same-sex couples to marry in Maine has announced that a new television ad will begin airing statewide Tuesday.

The ad features Pat and Dan Lawson of Monroe talking about why allowing same-sex couples to marry is important to their family, according to a press release issued Tuesday by Mainers United for Marriage.

The ad, which was developed through the Why Marriage Matters Maine Project, a broad network of organizations supporting the freedom to marry in Maine, is being paid for by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, a New England-based organization with offices in Portland and Boston, the press release said.

It is expected to continue airing through early September, David Farmer, spokesman for Mainers United, said Tuesday in an email. The campaign will begin airing its own television ads later in September, he said.

In the latest 30-second ad, the couple talks about being married for 30 years and their family.

“We have a set of twin sons,” Pat Lawson says in the ad. “One’s gay and one’s straight.”

“Marriage is a commitment that comes from your heart,” Dan Lawson says. “If that person wasn’t there, you’re not going to be complete. If my son finds someone that he’s in love with and wants to create a bond that’s going to last a lifetime, that’s marriage in my mind.”

“Our campaign is built upon honest and open conversations with Mainers about why marriage matters to all loving, committed couples,” Matt McTighe, campaign manager for Mainers United for Marriage, said in the press release. “The personal story of the real Maine family highlighted in GLAD’s new ad resembles the conversations we’ve had with tens of thousands of Mainers across the state who are changing their hearts and minds and growing more supportive of the freedom to marry every day.”

Pastor Bob Emrich, spokesman for Protect Marriage Maine, which opposes the referendum, said in an email that the issue is not that gays and lesbians want to get married.

“The issue is what is the true nature of marriage and what is the public purpose of the institution,” he said. “Our opponents believe that society should cater to the desires of adults and redefine marriage to accommodate same-sex couples.

“But if it’s the desire of adults that society is supposed to accommodate, why limit it to two adults?” he continued. “What do you do about the bisexual who forms loving relationships with both men and women? Should that person be in a three-person marriage? And if [so] why limit it to three? What about the desires of adults who wish to form polyamorous unions?”

Emrich said marriage is about what is best for children not adults.

“What marriage is about is society’s way of connecting children born of the sexual union of a man and a woman to the two people responsible for bringing them into the world,” he said. “We do this because children thrive and do best when they are raised by their married mother and father. This is also in society’s interests.”

The ad featuring the Lawsons is the second ad sponsored by GLAD and partner organizations, the press release said. The first ad, which began airing during the Olympics, featured the Gardner family of Machias.

It ran statewide after the Olympics ended for about three weeks on the broadcast networks, which include ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox, Farmer said.

“According to the coalition, they have put about $350,000 total behind the two ads,” he said.

Protect Marriage Maine has not set a definite date to begin airing television ads, Emrich said Tuesday in a phone interview.

“We feel it’s still too early to start airing ads because people aren’t really paying attention,” he said. “We are focusing on our grass-roots campaign and we are really encouraged by the response we are getting.”

David Farmer is a columnist for the Bangor Daily News.

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