Governor Signs LD 1020, An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom
May 6, 2009
AUGUSTA – Governor John E. Baldacci today signed into law LD 1020, An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom.
“I have followed closely the debate on this issue. I have listened to both sides, as they have presented their arguments during the public hearing and on the floor of the Maine Senate and the House of Representatives. I have read many of the notes and letters sent to my office, and I have weighed my decision carefully,” Governor Baldacci said. “I did not come to this decision lightly or in haste.”
“I appreciate the tone brought to this debate by both sides of the issue,” Governor Baldacci said. “This is an emotional issue that touches deeply many of our most important ideals and traditions. There are good, earnest and honest people on both sides of the question.”
“In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions,” Governor Baldacci said. “I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.”
If you live in Maine, send the governor a "thank you" message. You can bet his office will be deluged with hate in the coming weeks. And also start gearing up for the citizen initiative that the bigots will put on the ballot to try and reverse Maine's entry into the 21st century. Recent polling suggests that the Maine electorate is split on the issue, so the victory will go to the team that is best organized.
Gay marriage is now legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont. New Hampshire can join the club if Democratic Gov. John Lynch signs the legislation sitting on his desk. He is under intense lobbying effort by both sides, so if you are a Granite Stater, make sure you drop his office a line.
"We have received over 2,000 phone calls since the Senate passed the bill," spokesman Colin Manning said on Tuesday, as calls and voice-mails continued pouring in.
Add more than 2,000 e-mails and "at least hundreds" pieces of mail, including preprinted post cards, he said [...]
Manning said the messages will be tallied for Lynch before he has to decide.
"He'll know how many people have contacted the office and what the general sentiment has been," Manning said.
Finally, one more piece of good news:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress should let the District of Columbia pass a gay marriage law if it wants to, without interference.
"I don't think Congress should intervene, any more than we should intervene when New York did something similar," Pelosi said.
While a retrograde Utah congressman (Jason Chaffetz) has promised to launch an effort to overturn DCs effort to recognize same-sex marriage licenses issued in other state, making a mockery of his party's supposed commitment to federalism and local governance, fact is there appears to be little appetite for a serious blocking maneuver. If all goes well, this will be just a first step, and the District can legalize gay marriage in the district later this year.