Seventeen months after Mainers said yes, Maine GOP still says no to marriage equality

Photo: Gabor Degre | BDN Rabbi Darah Lerner (left) and her spouse Kelly Quagliotti kiss at the end of their wedding ceremony at Congregation Beth El in Bangor, July 2013

Photo: Gabor Degre | BDN
Rabbi Darah Lerner (left) and her spouse Kelly Quagliotti kiss at the end of their wedding ceremony at Congregation Beth El in Bangor, July 2013

Maine people voted for marriage equality over seventeen months ago and there’s no evidence that gay people getting married has caused any straight people’s marriages to fall apart.

My own marriage hasn’t suffered from my rabbi and her long-time partner getting married and I bet the other 299 or so people besides me who attended this loving couple’s ceremony haven’t had their relationships harmed either.

Even as the majority of Mainers and the country have moved to support marriage for all, Republicans have not.

Despite the many happy gay and lesbian couples marrying in Maine, the draft 2014 Maine GOP platform doesn’t accept marriage equality.

The draft platform reads:

Marriage is defined as the union of one man and one woman.

Oddly enough, this statement is part of a list that comes under a subheading reading:

The family is the foundation and strength of a stable society; therefore the government should not interfere, but rather support and protect the integrity and rights of the family.

It appears that, for the Maine GOP, “the integrity and rights of the family” doesn’t apply to families of gay and lesbian married couples, many of whom are raising children.

For the Maine GOP, those families don’t occupy the exalted position of serving as “the foundation and strength of a stable society.”

Ultimately, this means the Maine GOP sees those families and marriages as lesser.

But why?

There is absolutely no evidence that these families do a poorer job raising children. In fact, when overturning Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban, the federal judge said that research presented that purported to show that same-sex parents don’t do as well as straight parents was “entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration.”

With marriage equality having passed in the Pine Tree state, strong majorities of Mainers see no problem.

According to a November 2013 poll, “72% say gay marriage has had no impact on their lives, with 15% saying it’s had a positive impact on them and just 13% claiming it’s had a negative effect on them. Even among voters opposed to gay marriage in the state 70% acknowledge that it hasn’t actually had any ill effect on their lives.” 

Since it’s highly unlikely that the state will ever turn around and limit same-sex couples’ marriage rights, the Maine GOP could just delete this issue from their platform.

But, with social conservatives a key element of their base, it seems like the institutional party is not ready to let the issue drop.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.