Saturday, July 28, 2012

MAINE: Wording Of Marriage Equality initiative Set

The final wording for the question of the ballot initiative that Maine voters will see in November which would enact marriage equality has been set. The initial language proposed by the Secretary of State Charlie Summers (a Republican who opposes marriage equality and who is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Olympia Snowe) was "Do you want to allow same-sex couples to marry?The preferred language of Mainers United for Marriage was "Do you favor a law allowing marriage licenses for same-sex couples that protects religious freedom by ensuring no religion or clergy be required to perform such a marriage in violation of their religious beliefs?After public comment on the original language was largely negative, a new wording was released by Summers recently:

Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?

Although this language does not have any reference to the fact that the initiative text also includes specific religious protections, Mainers United for Marriage is not opposing it.

I would prefer that the word "civil" was included before marriage, but I think the focus on marriage licenses is helpful to the cause of marriage equality, because that is really the crux of the matter; it's about whether the government bureaucracy will stop discriminating on which couples it issues marriage licenses to.

Hat/tip to LGBT Think Progress

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