Marriage Equality Passes BOTH Legislative Houses In Maine-- Immediately Signed By The Governor!
Utah obstructionist, Jason Chaffetz, to lead GOP's latest anti-gay crusade
Nice that the House has passed the Matthew Shepard Act, the latest hate crimes bill, despite the best efforts of every single Republican and 15 mangy, homophobic Blue Dogs. The Senate seems to be less polarized about this and it is expected that several Republicans will vote with virtually all the Democrats against hatred, once Reid schedules a vote. Obama has signaled that he's happy to sign it.
Meanwhile, the Maine House of Representatives voted 98-57 to decriminalize same-sex marriage this morning and the bill, already passed by the state Senate, was immediately signed by Governor John Baldacci (who had 10 days to sign it).
Supporters of same-sex marriage have won victory after victory this spring, with the legislatures of Vermont, New Hampshire and now Maine embracing it. The region is close to offering such marriages full support; Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to let gay couples marry in 2004, and Connecticut began allowing same-sex marriage last fall.
Maine andNew Hampshire, the governor s, both Democrats, will be pivotal in determining whether same-sex marriage proponents succeed in winning over an entire region of the country. Neither Gov. John Baldacci of Maine nor Gov. John Lynch of New Hampshire has made his intentions public. Both men opposed same-sex marriage in the past but have indicated they might be reconsidering.
Governor Baldacci's signing statement:
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. 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. 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. 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.
Article I in the Maine Constitution states that ‘no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor be denied the equal protection of the laws, nor be denied the enjoyment of that person’s civil rights or be discriminated against.’
This new law does not force any religion to recognize a marriage that falls outside of its beliefs. It does not require the church to perform any ceremony with which it disagrees. Instead, it reaffirms the separation of Church and State.
It guarantees that Maine citizens will be treated equally under Maine’s civil marriage laws, and that is the responsibility of government.
Even as I sign this important legislation into law, I recognize that this may not be the final word. Just as the Maine Constitution demands that all people are treated equally under the law, it also guarantees that the ultimate political power in the State belongs to the people.
While the good and just people of Maine may determine this issue, my responsibility is to uphold the Constitution and do, as best as possible, what is right. I believe that signing this legislation is the right thing to do.
Yesterday Washington DC's city council voted (12-1) to recognize the legality of same-sex marriages (opposed by the one council member who has been seen on video taking bribes and smoking crack) performed in other states and is sure to be signed by Mayor Adrian Fenty, a supporter. At that point the committees in each house of Congress that oversees DC have 30 days to veto it. This morning Speaker Pelosi said that Congress shouldn't interfere. Not all members of Congress feel the same way, of course. Many of the virulent bigots and homophobes who opposed the hate crimes bill are also hysterical about "gay marriage" and are vowing to kill it.
Even the Republican House closet queen caucus-- Patty McHenry (R-NC), Adrian Smith (R-NE), David Dreier (R-CA), Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)-- are all vehemently opposed. And most of the members of the secretive Mormon bloc in the House-- Robert Bishop (R-UT), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Buck McKeon (R-CA), Wally Herger (R-CA), Mike Simpson (R-ID)-- are working hard to undermine the bill. Jason Chaffetz, a huckster and sleazy political operative from Alpine, Utah, is leading the fight. Chaffetz and Flake (as well as far right closet case McHenry) are on the House Oversight Committee, which oversees DC. The ranking Republican is homophobic hate-monger Darrell Issa (R-CA). "Some things are worth fighting for, and this is one of them," said Jason Chaffetz, who is the ranking Repug on the subcommittee that deals with DC. "It's not something I can let go softly into the night... I recognize the Democrats are in the majority, but I represent the majority of Americans on this issue." I wonder when Chaffetz and his obstructionist buddies will declare their fealty to the dogma of John C. Calhoun and insist on the right of nullification.
South Dakota bigot John Thune has already demanded that Obama not consider any gay men or women for the Supreme Court nominee. It wasn't that long ago when right-wing hate mongers like Thune were outraged about African-Americans or women being considered!
"I know the administration is being pushed, but I think [a gay nominee] would be a bridge too far right now," said GOP Chief Deputy Whip John Thune. "It seems to me this first pick is going to be a kind of important one, and my hope is that he'll play it a little more down the middle. A lot of people would react very negatively."
There was once a time-- in the 1960s, so not that terribly long ago-- when interracial marriage was a crime. Mixed race couples were arrested and imprisoned because of small minded bigots like Jason Chaffetz. That ended in-- much to the anger of hate-mongers and racists in the very same states where same sex marriage is most adamantly opposed-- in 1964 when the Supreme Court unanimously ruled against Virginia in the case of Loving v Virginia. Nanci Griffith has a new album coming out next month, The Loving Kind where she draws the obvious parallels between laws against interracial marriage and laws against same-sex marriage. Watch the video: