The Maine Situation – No on 1
Back in May, the Maine legislature legalized same-sex marriage in their state. Predictably, the right-wing hate machine has revved its engines to undo social progress, and has put Proposition 1 — essentially identical to California’s Prop 8 — on the November ballot.
Greta Christina has a blog post on the subject that I can’t say better, but the two important points are:
- Every state that legalizes same-sex marriage and does not fall into total social anarchy as a result makes it that much harder for anti-equality forces to spread their lies, because they’re more and more likely to be seen for what they are.
- Proposition 1’s failure will make the first time that a majority vote by the people of the United States upheld marriage equality. Until now it’s been rulings by the courts or decisions by the legislatures, and the opposition has been all too happy to crow about it violating the will of the people. When the will of the people openly supports same-sex unions, even in only one state to start with, they won’t be able to pull that one out anymore. A single clap can start an avalanche.
We in California had our chance to be the first domino to fall and we blew it. We weren’t prepared for the full force of bigotry that the Yes on 8 crowd brought to bear. So now Maine is ground zero. I’m confident that equality will eventually win out, as it always has before. But a win in Maine will bring about a national win much, much faster.
Greta’s post mentions several ways to get involved. I am personally starting to plan a Volunteer Vacation to Maine and spend a week canvassing for the No on 1 campaign. I sat on my hands with Prop 8 and I share the responsibility for its passage as a result. This time can, and must, be different.
Obviously most people have real jobs and can’t afford to take a week off to get political. But you can still be involved. If you can, please donate to the campaign. The Yes on 8 campaign was fueled by massive influxes of cash from big donors, prominently including the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City. The Yes on 1 campaign has hired many of the same campaign managers as Yes on 8, and there’s no reason to think it won’t have many of the same supporters and donors. We in California saw the lies and fearmongering they slapped on billboards and TV commercials, and the No on 8 campaign simply didn’t have the resources to wage the battle effectively. Every little bit will go a long way toward fighting the smears that are going to be inevitable.
However you intend to get involved, get involved early. Voting for the Maine election actually opens in October, so if you wait until right before the election date, most of the votes will already be cast and it will be too late. We’ve made our mistakes, now we have the opportunity to show we’ve learned from them.