Though the National Organization for Marriage is desperately highlighting letters to the editor from Maine residents opposing equality, one prominent newspaper has taken a stand for equality. Today, the Bangor Daily News endorsed Question 1 for marriage equality, calling it “a matter of fairness” and “a matter of equality.” The editorial explains why the freedom to marry will not impinge on anybody’s religious beliefs:
Some people may understandably oppose gay marriage for religious reasons, but — while the church has played a long and important role in marriage — they should remember that marriage licenses are issued by the state.
They should also remember that no one is trying to change their beliefs. Clergy will not be forced to perform marriage ceremonies or bless gay couples. The legal freedom that protects clergy, allowing them the ability to choose whom to join in marriage, is the same legal freedom gay couples are seeking to be able to marry. Extending legal protections to the few does not hurt the majority.
The endorsement also notes that civil unions are insufficient recognition for same-sex couples, because marriage is the “most accurate representation” of “public recognition of the private love.” If equality passes in Maine next week, it will be the first time a state recognizes same-sex marriage thanks to a grassroots ballot initiative effort. The Bangor Daily News hopes that “voters affirm Maine as a place where people value the rights of all their neighbors equally.”
A poll last month showed that 56.6 percent of Maine voters will do just that.