Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A painful loss in Maine

I could post about how the very idea that one group of people could vote out the basic rights of another group of people runs counter to the principals at the core of our republic, a republic established on the idea of representative democracy as a means of safeguarding minorities from the tyranny of the majority through the filter of deliberative representation. This comes to mind as I ponder the painful defeat as the No on 1 campaign in Maine lost to the forces of bigotry with the effect that the recently-enacted same-sex civil marriage law in that state has been voted out. Same-sex couples will continue to be treated as second-class citizens before the law.

But instead, I post a letter I received (and published on the No on 1 campaign site) from Jesse Connolly, who ran a valiant effort to sensitize Maine voters to the fundamental inequity of treating lesbian and gay couples as second-class citizens. This vote shows that the road ahead will indeed be very difficult, even in an otherwise progressive state, and that it may be years, many years, before lesbians, gay men, and transgendered people ever experience the level of respect and equality before the law they demand and certainly are entitled to:

Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of Maine voters stood for equality, but in the end, it wasn't enough.

I am proud of the thousands of Mainers who knocked on doors, made phone calls and talked to their family, friends and neighbors about the basic premise of treating all Maine families equally.

And I'm proud of this campaign because the stories we told and the images we shared were of real Mainers -- parents who stood up for their children, and couples who simply wanted to marry the person they love.

We're in this for the long haul. For next week, and next month, and next year-- until all Maine families are treated equally. Because in the end, this has always been about love and family and that will always be something worth fighting for.

Thank you. Thank you for everything you did. Thank you for digging deep and giving one more dollar to run our TV ads, for making those phone calls for one more hour. This campaign was, from the beginning, powered by people like you who rolled up their sleeves and did the hard work of change.

Stay the course.

Jesse Connolly
Campaign Manager
NO on 1 / Protect Maine Equality

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