AUGUSTA, Maine — Two longtime gay marriage opponents commended Gov. Paul LePage Wednesday for speaking up against sodomy with a crude reference to Vaseline that garnered the chief executive national attention.
LePage’s administration quickly distanced him from Michael Heath, best known as the former executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, and Paul Madore, director of the Maine Grassroots Coalition. The two said at a news conference at the State House on Wednesday that when LePage said Democratic Sen. Troy Jackson claimed “to be for the people but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline,” he advanced anti-gay causes because it portrayed sodomy in negative terms.
“Gov. Paul LePage was in good company using an allusion to sodomy to condemn expensive, big-government solutions to the challenges confronting Maine people,” said Heath to reporters and about a dozen members of the public. “Those condemned by the governor’s remark are the very same leaders who are promoting sodomy in our schools. This fact makes his allusion even more powerful. He used figurative language to reveal a profound truth about our current situation. Maine is being sodomized by the left, especially our impressionable and innocent children.”
Heath and Madore’s 40-minute presentation ranged from attacks on lawmakers and citizens who have supported gay rights to, in Madore’s case, scathing criticism of the Catholic church for “covertly” supporting a “gay agenda.” He also lashed out at the church community for criticizing LePage.
“He’s a man and he’s one that we should respect,” said Madore. “It was wrong for Christian leaders to criticize him the way that they did. … And the way they handled the same-sex marriage debate, that was it for me.”
“He was angry and he spoke out very emotionally and like a man and I loved it,” said Heath. “It felt like thunder and lightning to me. It’s so refreshing in this age of insanity when it comes to sexuality to hear someone in public life use sodomy, gay, homosexual — pick your word — in the proper context. It’s negative. … What’s good is sexuality in marriage and what is linked to having children and grandchildren. Civilization has survived because we reward that behavior and discourage the other behavior.”
Asked by a reporter to respond to the fact that LePage apologized for the Vaseline comment the day after he made it, Heath said “that’s between him and God.”
LePage was traveling in Pennsylvania on Wednesday but Adrienne Bennett, his press secretary, distanced the governor from Madore and Heath unequivocally.
“This group has no affiliation with the Office of the Governor or the governor nor do they speak for the Office of the Governor,” said Bennett. “This group does not reflect the views of the governor.”
Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant called on LePage to go even further.
“I thought we had moved beyond this point in Maine,” said Grant in a written statement. “Gov. LePage should denounce these comments immediately.”
Jackson, a Catholic, said after the event that Madore and Heath don’t represent the church-goers he knows.
“I’m really offended … I do take religion very seriously and I don’t think that’s any type of religion I’ve ever been taught,” said Jackson to reporters. “You’re supposed to do everything you can for your fellow man and that sounded like people really wanted to be very against people’s lifestyle. … It’s just shameful and hurtful as far as I’m concerned.”