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

Yes on Question 1 is a no-brainer this time around

The recent, aggressive outreach on campus by the “Mainers United for Marriage” and “Equality Maine” may have annoyed University of Maine students, but the groups that support the voter referendum allowing same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses in the state of Maine have a reason to be.

After losing a very close repeal campaign three years ago, the current wave of marriage equality reform across the country provides the opportunity to attempt round two — and they’re not losing this time.

Same-sex marriage is currently unrecognized in Maine. The state’s domestic partnership law still remains in effect, stating that the only legitimate marriage is one between a man and a woman. Supporters of equal marriage rights in the state consider this to be discrimination, and rightfully so.

Former Maine Governor John Baldacci signed a bill in 2009 that would have allowed same-sex marriages in Maine, but this was petitioned to a people’s veto. The law was put on hold, andit was eventually rejected by a vote of 53 percent to 47 percent.

Having homosexual friends who are both Republicans and Democrats, I personally see no harm in allowing this law to pass. It’s outrageous and fundamentally selfish to claim marriage as a strictly heterosexual undertaking.

When it comes to push and shove, it’s all about realizing that homosexuals are just like any one of us. Deciding their right to marry the person they love shouldn’t be hard: It’s a moral obligation and one that shouldn’t be influenced by the ambiguously perceived religious scripture that adversaries cite.

The opposition stands behind a 2008 report by the Williams Institute of the UCLA School of Law, which said that same-sex couples with children have fewer economic resources and lower rates of homeownership to provide for their families, thus making the point that homosexuals are not “good parents.”

This claim can be disputed, but the economic benefit of same-sex marriage legalization cannot. The Williams Institute reported in 2009 that legalizing same-sex marriages would bring $60 million in additional spending in Maine over the next three years, which would yield 1,000 new jobs.

The opposition also claims that legalizing same-sex marriage would violate religious freedom, forcing churches around the state to accept all marriage ceremonies even if it’s against their beliefs. This is also wrongheaded.

The original question submitted for the citizen initiative to support same-sex marriage on the November 2012 ballot read, “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?”

Secretary of State and Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Charlie Summers conveniently left out this piece of information just to make sure Mainers still questioned the religious freedom aspect of such legislation.

What you’ll read on the ballot is a simple question: “Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?”

Think hard about this serious predicament. The question should read: “Would you rather help our struggling economy or side with an archaic, outdated exploitation of fellow Americans?”

Tough to answer that, huh?

In March 2011, Public Policy Polling found that just 47 percent of Mainers supported same-sex marriage. Just two months ago, a poll by the same firm found that 52 percent supported legalization of same-sex marriage.

This gives hope — not just for the millions of homosexuals in this country wishing to be provided a given right, but also for future of our country. Equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community is the civil movement of the 21st century in America.

Fifty years from now, we will look back on this and ask ourselves: “How were we so ignorant?”

Vote “Yes on 1.” It’s a no-brainer.