The struggle for marriage rights for same sex couples in the United States moves to Maine next month when voters at a referendum will be asked “Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?” Governor John Baldacci signed the same-sex marriage bill in May but the law has not gone into effect, pending the outcome of the November 3 election.
The history of public votes in other US states on questions of marriage suggests that again the attempt to legalise gay marriage will fail but the way the question is framed at least raises some doubt in the mind of an Australian used to people tending to vote no in referendums. In Maine, a no vote will allow the same sex marriage legislation to stand with its opponents campaigning for a yes vote.
Both sides, I notice, are featuring happy family groups sitting in the park on their websites (Maine Freedom to Marry and Stand For Marriage Maine) which is a symbolism I don’t grasp. But I do understand the kind of message being spread by the yes campaigners with their story inside “of Robb and Robin Wirthlin who were shocked when their seven-year-old son came home from school in Lexington, Massachusetts and told them that he had been taught that a boy could marry another boy.” I hope Robb and Robin are careful with him in that park.