Maine is the first state that is inviting its residents to vote affirmatively for marriage equality — as opposed to defending against a negative measure. At stake currently is how exactly that question will be asked. Last week, Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers proposed the following language:
“Do you want to allow same-sex couples to marry?”
Neither side is satisfied with this wording. Opponents of marriage equality unsurprisingly want to spin the language as “redefining marriage,” implying that same-sex marriage will somehow impact everyone else’s marriage. But those who put forth the measure feel the question is not descriptive enough, because it does not include any context about the protections for church and clergy that are included in the law. Matt McTighe of Mainers United for Marriage explains:
MCTIGHE: Opponents of marriage are already trying to scare voters into thinking their church could be forced to perform or recognize same-sex marriages or that their tax exempt status would somehow be put at risk. Nothing could be further from the truth.
At a press conference, Methodist Pastor Michael Gray further clarified the religious freedoms guaranteed by the marriage bill: