I’m a mom. I can’t write a letter as a lawyer about marriage inequality or as a pastor about how the Bible should be interpreted in terms of marriage. There are many others who have and, hopefully, will continue to speak to those issues.
I’m a mom who can write about my family. I am so proud of our six children. We have eight grandchildren and expect our ninth by the end of this year. I have been blessed with kids that are tolerant of others and grandchildren who are being raised to be tolerant of others.
I have watched five of my kids get married. I have watched the ceremonies with tears in my eyes and my heart filled with joy that they were able to commit to the person they loved in an open, loving way. As a parent, I want that for all my kids. I can’t imagine how anyone would think that my gay son is less deserving than my other children to be able to share in the security that a marriage brings and the recognition of their commitment. I don’t mean the ceremony of the wedding – as beautiful as they are – but the legal rights that marriage affords to people. Yes, I would love to watch the ceremony for all my children but, more than that, I want them to be able to commit under the law and benefit from the protection that brings to them. I want to know that they are all treated fairly and equally.
One of my grandkids was talking to his mom about marriage equality and asked her why anyone would care who someone else loved. She couldn’t explain it to him and if he had asked me, I wouldn’t have been able to explain it either to him. The very fact that he wonders at his young age or that my mom, of an older generation, wonders why others care gives me hope that this inequality will end in November in Maine.
As a mom I will be voting Yes on 1 on November 6th. I will do this with all the love I have in me for my kids and their kids and others who believe that people deserve to be treated equally. I will do it with great pride in all my kids – pride in who they are and who they love. I will do it knowing that when the time comes that all my kids want to be legally married, they will be and I will be one happy mom.
Please join me in voting Yes on 1.Debbie Seaver, Waldoboro
Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET — After losing some 30 ballots on same-sex marriage across the country over the past decade, advocates of lesbian and gay couples are encouraged by polls showing they have a good chance of finally logging their first victory in a statewide popular vote.
Polls show majorities back same-sex marriage in Maryland, Washington and Maine, and they indicate a tight battle in Minnesota – the four states holding votes on the issue in November.
“We’re feeling positive. The reality is, we haven’t won a ballot measure on marriage yet,” said Sarah Warbelow, state legislative director for the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights. “I think it’s very reasonable and realistic to expect that we’ll win one or more of these ballot measures; certainly the polling suggests that all four are … a possibility.”
Polling ahead of such ballots has not always accurately captured voters’ sentiment: In California in 2008, the same-sex marriage camp had a majority, though the ban on gay and lesbian marriage ultimately prevailed. In North Carolina, polls had predicted a closer race in the May ballot on the constitutional amendment (a 16-point difference, according to Public Policy Polling at the time), but the anti-gay marriage camp won by more than 20 points.
“They’re doing what they’ve also done, taking their victory lap before their first victory,” said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, which on Thursday gave $250,000 to each of the four state campaigns opposed to same-sex marriage.
“The poll numbers that they’re interpreting as good for them are actually not good for them,” he said Friday, though noting that Washington could be tough for his side.
So far, the polls show support in the low-to-mid 50s for same-sex marriage:
With Mainers to vote on whether to allow same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses in November 2012, a group of Maine Republicans has stepped forward to announce their support. Some changed their minds and were greeted with a certain consternation or at least apprehension from their fellow partisans.
How does this relate to national dynamics?
The national Republican party includes many strong social conservatives. Particularly since 1980, the religious right has been a solid element of the Republican coalition. Nationally, many Republican politicians have supported — and continue to support — restrictions on gay rights, abortion and even birth control.
However, the Republican party has long included a libertarian strand and those Republicans have supported (some degree of) equal rights for gay and lesbian people. For instance, Senator (and 1964 presidential nominee) Barry Goldwater, said of military service, “Everyone knows that gays have served honorably in the military since at least the time of Julius Caesar” and “You don’t need to be ‘straight’ to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight.”
Also moderate Republicans — like Maine Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe — have been relatively supportive of gay rights, both as concerns service in the military and marriage. In 2006. both voted against proceeding to a vote on a constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as between a man and woman. More recently, both supported ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). There are fewer moderate Republicans than before, but they are still part of the party.
Republicans have became more supportive of gay rights. On gays and lesbians in military service, Republicans shifted from a strongly anti-gay stance to, by May 2010, 60% support for repealing DADT.
But what about marriage equality?
National data show that, as public opinion has shifted on marriage, Republicans have not changed very much.
Public opinion on same-sex marriage has moved a great deal. Now national polls find over 50% support. Much of that change comes from younger age groups and there are clear differences by different generations. If one looks at particular age groups over time, it’s clear that opinion within age groups has also changed and has become more supportive of marriage equality.
But the partisan patterns — at least in national polls — show much greater change among Democrats and independents than Republicans.
Ken Graves, senior pastor, urged people to contribute because “the family is under attack.”
Between 150 and 200 churches were expected to participate in the Father’s Day event.
“ We have intentionally chosen Father’s Day to emphasize the stark differences between those who support Biblical marriage and those who are attempting to redefine marriage,” Pastor Bob Emrich, chairman of Protect Marriage Maine, said last week in a letter to fellow members of the clergy. “We believe God designed and utilizes the differences between men and women to establish the ideal environment to raise a family. The other side believes moms and dads are replaceable by generic adults.
“They have raised over $500,000 in nearly a year,” he continued. “We have no illusions of matching that amount, but I believe it is critical for the state of Maine to see our Christian community and its churches enthusiastically support Protect Marriage Maine.”
As of June 1, Mainers United for Marriage, supporters of same-sex marriage, had raised about $359,000 compared with the nearly $10,000 raised by Protect Marriage Maine, according to documents filed with the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices. Since then, same-sex marriage supporters raised more than $120,000 to match a $100,000 contribution from a co-founder of Facebook.
Supporters of same-sex marriage in Maine said earlier this year that they expect to raise $5 million or more for their campaign. Opponents have said they expect to raise far less, but collection plate offerings will go a long way toward helping fund the campaign, Carroll Conley, director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, said last month.