What exactly is going on in Maine?

You may have heard some rumblings that there's a ballot battle up in Maine.  Perhaps you wonder what its all about and what it means for Pittsburgh.

Maine affords marriage equality to all residents.  This means same sex couples can marry and enjoy the privileges and rights associated with that institution, both legally and personally.

There's a movement, Proposition 1, to repeal that law and strip citizens of their rights. 

There's a countermovement to protect and preserve marriage equality.  Maine Freedom to Marry.

The battle will be fierce and the first since Prop 8 successfully repealed marriage equality in California.

The rally was the latest development in a campaign that is expected to be highly emotional and very expensive. By mid-July, the coalition of opponents of gay marriage, the Stand for Maine Marriage political action committee, had raised more than $343,000, while those fighting the repeal had taken in $138,640 in contributions.

The Legislature legalized gay marriage in May, making Maine the fifth state in the country to do so. An April poll concluded that Maine voters were closely divided on gay marriage, with slightly more opposed.

Gay-marriage proponents at the rally said they had collected the pledge cards during the past year. Jesse Connolly, campaign manager, said volunteers will collect even more this summer.

“We are the local grassroots campaign,” said Connolly.

Stand for Maine Marriage, which includes the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland and other groups, says it has collected way more than the required 55,000 signatures to allow Maine voters to decide whether to reject the new law in a people's veto.

This is the epicenter of the battle for equality.  You can cheer them on from afar or you can make a modest donation of $10.00 to prevent the injustice of our brothers and sisters having their equality determined by public opinion. 

This battle sets the tone for our own battle here in Pennsylvania where we have HB 300 struggling in the PA House and two opposing marriage equality bills duking it out in the Senate.  The marriage battle, IMHO, is pointless and won't get any traction other than sorting out who among the Pennsylvania Senators has the courage to stand up for our equality.  The real battle is HB 300.  More on that later.

Our great victory from November, 2008 is losing ground.  Health care reform has been politicized to the point that it may actually hurt us in the long run.  We are the generation that won't retire with the guarantee of pensions and health insurance from our employers. 

Back to Maine.  Please take some time to educate yourself about this political battle. 

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