The University of Maine student newspaper since 1875
Sunday, April 19, 11:08 p.m.

Op-Ed: ‘Yes on 1’ voters mummified institution of marriage in Maine

I’m not angry, Maine. I’m just disappointed. You were given the chance to protect minority rights against the forces of bigotry and hate, and you failed. You failed to change history. You failed to protect me, and I am taking this personally.

I’ve spoken to many people who voted yes on Question 1. Most of them had nothing to do with the campaign. They didn’t dislike gay people or gay rights. They had excuses like, “I don’t think marriage should be up to the government, anyway.” Is that what we were voting on?

Others would say, “Well, if we could have civil unions, it would piss off less people.” Is that what we were voting on?

Were we voting on anything other than the expansion of legal rights of a minority who has been deprived of this right for too long?

“We all know we were the little guy going up against the big guy, but we prevailed,” said Marc Mutty, chairman of Stand For Marriage Maine. I cannot believe how angry a single quote can make me.

Are you serious, Marc? Do you really believe picking on a sexual minority is a fight against “the big guy?” The only big guy you were battling was the American Constitution, which guarantees the right of liberty to all Americans. It seems that “big guy” doesn’t have many defenders these days.

You failed, Maine. Tell that to yourself again and again. You failed. I’m disappointed and I’m appalled. You let a religious law — let’s be honest here, it is a religious law — take precedence over individual freedom.

I am ashamed to admit I am a religious person today. I love God, and my relationship with him is something I wouldn’t give up for the world. Even if my religion included faith in the word of the Bible, which does state that homosexuality is an abomination, I would have voted no on Question 1. Any Christian who used the Bible as an excuse to vote yes is fooling himself.

Christians, please. Stop using your Bible to shape our non-Christian government. Sure, the Bible has some great rules, but most of them are impractical for governing. What if we had “turned the other cheek” after 9/11? It would have been disastrous. If you want to stop homosexuals from having homosexual sex, then do it on your own time, not my government’s time. I write “my government” because regardless of last night’s results, it is still mine as well as yours. I may be a second-class citizen, but I’m still a citizen.

And don’t even try to tell me “homosexual sex” would have been taught in schools to seven-year-olds. I don’t know if you’ve checked your own state’s laws recently, but local districts decide the sex and family curriculum for each school. No teacher worth his or her salt would explain homosexual sex in graphic terms to a 7-year-old. If they do, it’s the teacher, not the marriage rights of every homosexual in Maine, who should take the blame.

I’m not angry, Maine — just disappointed. You let hatred, confusion, misinformation and ignorance emerge victorious over liberty. More importantly, you let Maine families down. I cannot believe the opponents of marriage equality think they are preserving marriage. They are letting it crumble away into oblivion, an outdated model that serves fewer and fewer people. Our society needs marriages and families. When the divorce rate in Maine continues to rise from 46 percent to 50, 60 or 70 percent, you will have the “Yes on 1” campaign to blame. They didn’t preserve marriage. They mummified it alive.

Samantha Hansen is a junior political science student.