Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers has finalized the wording for the ballot question inviting voters to vote yes for marriage equality. There was great debate over the initially proposed language, with advocates on both sides concerned the language did not fairly represent the question. Now, it seems both sides approve of the wording. Here’s how it progressed:
ORIGINAL MAINERS UNITED PROPOSAL: 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?
SUMMERS’ FIRST PROPOSAL: Do you want to allow same-sex couples to marry?
SUMMERS’ FINAL LANGUAGE: Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?
Mainers United for Marriage supports the language because it clarifies that the law only pertains to civil, not religious, marriage. Unsurprisingly, Protect Marriage Maine would have preferred it ask about “redefining marriage,” but chairman Bob Emrich said he’s glad it doesn’t include “misleading” language about religious liberty protections. The anti-gay coalition, affiliated with the National Organization for Marriage, would likely not settle for any “religious liberty” that isn’t an across-the-board option to discrimination.
Meet four generations of Harlan Gardner’s family to understand why marriage matters in Maine: