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Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



Getting involved in Maine marriage referendum

Remember when Vermont was debating first civil unions in 2000 and then same-sex marriage last spring? The one point of agreement by the two sides seemed to be that Vermont ought to decide this question for itself without outside interference.

Now, however, as Maine voters prepare to vote on a referendum on the same-sex marriage statute their Legislature enacted last spring, the Vermont Democratic Party is encouraging Vermonters to get involved.

Here's the message from Democratic Chairwoman Judy Bevans, who argues marriage equality is under attack in Maine.

"In conjunction with Vermont Freedom to Marry, we are helping organize phone banks across Vermont to call Maine voters and encourage them to get out and vote early, or simply remind them of the urgency of this upcoming vote. This week and next, phone banks will be set up in Burlington, Middlebury and Montpelier, so please sign up today and learn more about what you can do to help. If you can't make it to a phone bank, you can also call from home, so don't hesitate. Just sign up today and tell us you plan to phone from home."

Bevans justifies Vermonters' involvement this way. "Our friends in Maine need the added strength of our voices. Their fight is our fight. As is the fight of any state or individual working for equal rights under the law. ... Together we are shaping the future of civil rights in America."

I lived in Maine for two decades and I know Mainers feel as fiercely independent as Vermonters. I wonder how these calls will go over.

-- Nancy Remsen


Out of state opponents of gay marriage are also involved in influencing Maine's vote. They are also sending money and volunteering. Fair is fair....
Interfering is not "fair," and it can't be justified because someone else is supposedly interfering on the other side.

"We have to interfere because they (the anti-gay marriage people) are interfering" is a primitive, Cold War-type mentality.

Sure, the outside anti-civil union people interfered in 2000. But, still, we didn't think that that justified the outside PRO-civil union people in interfering. Why do you think Mainers will like it any better.

Butt out.
Martin Luther King Jr. was critcized by white clergy for getting invloved in local issues. In his his Letter from Birmingham Jail, King responded that he was there because "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."

That's why this issue is bigger than Maine.
By that logic, it's perfectly fair for the ultra right wing to try to influence the Maine decision as well.

Butt the hell out.
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