Thursday, October 25, 2012

Maine Marriage Equality Advocates Speak Out

On November 6th, voters in Maine, Maryland, and Washington will vote on marriage equality referendums in their respective states, and in Minnesota, voters have the opportunity to strike down a constitutional amendment that would ban marriage equality in their state. With the election fast approaching, marriage equality supporters are increasingly expressing their views on the upcoming referendums.

In Maine, a marriage equality bill was signed into law in 2009 by then-governor John Baldacci. However, voters repealed the law in a referendum, 53 to 47-percent, reports the New York Times. Three years later, proponents of marriage equality are voicing their support in broad numbers and sharing their reasons for supporting same-sex marriage.

The Boston Globe reports that in Maine, Portland City Council unanimously endorsed the same-sex marriage proposal on the state’s ballot, joining Bangor City Council. Councilor Nick Mavodenes introduced Portland’s resolution, which says that Question 1 allows same-sex couples to receive a marriage license while also protecting religious freedom.

Four volunteer firefighters, three straight and one gay, discuss their bond and how it has led them to support marriage equality. The Advocate reports that in a new 30-second ad for Mainers United for Marriage, a coalition working to pass Maine’s marriage-equality referendum, the men share their experiences. “When we clear a call, I get to go home to my wife,” said Eric Humphrey, a straight firefighter in the ad. “The guys I work with should be able to marry the person they love. We’re voting ‘Yes’ on 1.”

Harlan Gardner, a 90-year-old World War II veteran, also recently made a commercial explaining why he supports marriage equality, states the New York Times. The ad features Gardner with his granddaughter who is a lesbian, Katie Kurtz, and her partner of eight years, Alex. He shares how proud he is of his granddaughter and her partner, and how they and all LGBT individuals deserve the right to marry. “Marriage is too precious a thing not to share,” said Gardner.

An October 10th poll published on ThinkProgress, reports that 56.6-percent of Maine voters support marriage equality, compared to 39-percent who oppose the referendum. As Election Day nears, both sides of this issue are expected to put out more advertisements, hoping to swing the public in their favor.

This diverse support for marriage equality reflects that this is an issue that affects entire communities. We applaud those speaking out for marriage equality and hope their stories will persuade voters to support marriage equality this election season.

To watch the firefighters share their story in the Mainers United in Marriage ad, please click the Play button on the video below.

To watch Harlan Gardner tell his story, please click the Play button on the video below.

Take Action: Between now and November, PFLAG is joining with the United for Marriage coalition to mobilize, creating a simple process for individual PFLAGers and chapters to organize. With Election Day around the corner - and the proven effectiveness of the PFLAG voice to change hearts and minds - you can support the effort in these four states to get election results on the right side of history.

MAKE CALLS! The United for Marriage staff will connect you to a state campaign so you and your group can make phone calls from where you are through virtual phone banks.

TRAVEL!  United for Marriage will help you plan a Volunteer Vacation to one of the four states or a Drive for Marriage weekend road trip to a state near you. Volunteer vacationers travel to Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, or Washington, where they receive a full orientation and training, and then work with a dedicated team on the marriage equality campaign. United for Marriage will work with you and your group to find free housing, and will help you make your travel arrangements and are also working to match people with need with donated airline miles.

Do you live in one of the ballot measure states? You can help by offering to house Volunteer Vacationers! 

DONATE AIRLINE MILES! United for Marriage will help you, your fellow chapter members, and your community supporters donate frequent flyer miles so Volunteer Vacationers can fly to a ballot state for a week…or longer.

This is a pivotal moment in the movement to win the freedom to marry for all loving and committed couples…and our chance to send a strong message that all couples should be able to make a loving and legal commitment to each other and their children.   

Join other PFLAGers: take action now and help all our families win on Election Day.

Thank you for taking action today!