This November, Maine residents will have the first-ever opportunity to vote for marriage equality at the ballot, and though polling is strong and steady for the measure, opponents are just beginning to ramp up their own efforts. Anti-gay conservatives Paul Madore and Mike Heath — activists whose heated rhetoric has been squelched in past campaigns — have launched the “No Special Rights PAC” to oppose the referendum. Today, they took their first action, interrupting the beginning of Pride Week at the University of Maine to distribute a “truth pledge,” which refers to the ballot initiative as promoting “Sodomy Based Marriage.” Individuals who take the pledge are encouraged to refer to the freedom to marry as a “special right,” a “hellish” and “evil” doctrine, and an “attack by demonic forces.” Here are some excerpts:
I pledge that I will:
1. Go to the polls and vote NO on Sodomy Based Marriage in November.
3. Use the term “Sodomy Based Marriage” and avoid the deceptive terms “same sex or gay marriage.”
4. Inform my friends and neighbors that the term “same sex marriage” contains two contradictory terms, and is therefore, illogical, false, and absurd.
5. Marriage is a Covenant that is entered into between two people and is based on a difference in gender; and there can be no moral or legal right to a practice which defies logic, common sense, and the Natural Law itself.
9. Reaffirm the Christian Church’s teaching that a child must never be denied the right to have both a mother and a father. Oppose the hellish doctrine that parents of the same sex make better parents than parents of the opposite sex, an evil doctrine which is now being advanced by the homosexual rights movement.
11. Pray that God will deliver our State and Country from this attack by demonic force, and that marriage between man and woman will be restored to its rightful place of honor, to the glory of Almighty God.
The pledge also refers to marriage equality as “an attack on the religious freedom of all Christian men and women” that oppresses, silences, and persecutes “those who hold religious or moral objections to homosexuality” and seeks to introduce “homosexual indoctrination into the curricula of our schools.” Madore also told reporters that homosexuality represents a “culture of death.”
Madore and Heath’s rhetoric is unabashedly anti-gay, but it’s important to note that all of the rhetoric fits the models offered by groups that use tamer language, like the National Organization for Marriage and Catholic Church. By framing the effort around so-called “religious freedom” and protecting children, No Special Rights PAC is fighting with fear and trying to erase same-sex families and the many faith communities that support them.