Maine! In Support of the People’s Veto

maine

It’s More Than Marriage: What’s At Stake in Maine

Op-Ed
by Pastor Bob Emrich

I don’t know anyone who looks across acres of clear-cut land and calls it tree equality. That makes as much sense as looking at the extreme changes to Maine’s marriage law approved recently by Gov. Baldacci and calling it marriage equality.

Look at the facts and decide for yourself. Let’s start by comparing Maine’s marriage law before and after the change.

The State of Maine held the historic definition of marriage in highest regard throughout Maine law. Maine law told us why “traditional monogamous marriage” was well worth State government protection and promotion. Maine law said, “The union of one man and one woman joined in traditional monogamous marriage is of inestimable value to society..;” The word “inestimable” means too valuable to be measured or fully appreciated.

Maine’s marriage law said: “..the State has a compelling interest to nurture and promote the unique institution of traditional monogamous marriage in the support of harmonious families and the physical and mental health of children;”

That part of the law is full of wonderful, important words. “Compelling” means the State’s interest in historic marriage cannot be refuted. “Nurture” means to cherish, to encourage the growth of. To “promote” means to support. “Unique” means the only one of its kind. An “institution” is a well-established and familiar custom.

That paragraph of Maine’s marriage law ends with, “…and that the State has the compelling interest in promoting the moral values inherent in traditional monogamous marriage.”

Finally, the whole purpose of Maine’s marriage law was, “To encourage the traditional monogamous family unit as the basic building block of our society, the foundation of harmonious and enriching family life;”

Maine legislators and the Governor took every bit of the marriage law I have just outlined for you, clear-cut it, and threw it out as worthless garbage. All that language and, more important, the meaning behind the words, is gone.

It was cut first by a majority of the Maine Legislature who said societies were wrong for thousands of years in valuing “traditional monogamous marriage” as “the basic building block of society.” They came up with their new definition of marriage, which Governor Baldacci signed it into law. It starts with: “Marriage is the legally recognized union of 2 people.”

Baldacci’s new marriage law then redefines all of the historic terms we associate with marriage: Widows aren’t just women. Neither are wives and brides. Husbands, grooms, and widowers aren’t just men. In fact, the Governor’s new marriage law says: “Gender-specific terms relating to the marital relationship or familial relationships, including, but not limited to, ‘spouse,’ ‘family,’ ‘marriage,’ ‘immediate family,’ ‘dependent,’ ‘next of kin,’ ‘bride,’ ‘groom,’ ‘husband,’ ‘wife,’ ‘widow’ and ‘widower,’ must be construed to be gender-neutral for all purposes throughout the law, whether in the context of statute, administrative or court rule, policy, common law or any other source of civil law.”

There you have it. It is a belief among those of us supporting a Peoples Veto of this law on the November 3, 2009 ballot that Mainers deserve a full and honest debate about this radical law and its impact on society short-term, mid-term, and long-term. The one public hearing on this law, in Augusta, on a work day was a very bad call by the legislators involved.

Mainers must have the opportunity to decide if adopting a law redefining historic marriage as gender-free, instead of Maine law saying “..the State has a compelling interest to nurture and promote the unique institution of traditional monogamous marriage in the support of harmonious families and the physical and mental health of children,” is what they want for themselves, their children and grandchildren.

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28 Comments

  1. Euripides said,

    September 20, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    Baldacci’s statement is simply unbelievable. For political purposes, he’s willing to create a politically neutered human and destroy the purpose and function of marriage in society. Simply unbelievable.

  2. Choice & Accountability said,

    September 20, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    It’s amazing the extremes some will go to to secure personal aggrandizement and power. Tragic that one would sell one’s integrity so cheaply for personal gain–at such great cost to others.

  3. beetlebabee said,

    September 21, 2009 at 8:08 am

    It’s actually a huge thing that they’re erasing gender from all Maine law with this one little change. Even if you’re for same sex marriage, how could you think erasing all gender from law is a good idea?

  4. Ross said,

    September 21, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    All of those words were already gender neutral (family, widow, spouse) etc with the exception of “bridge” “groom” “husband” and “wife”.

  5. Ross said,

    September 21, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Bride, sorry

  6. Robert said,

    September 21, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Baldacci’s statement is the truth. We finally get to see what it’s all about. In response to Ross’s comment ‘widow’ is not gender neutral and neither is family and therefore all of the words are not gender neutral. If you read further into this law it perpetuates the homo-, bi-, and transexual ideology that parents are interchangable and non essential for raising children.

  7. Kevin said,

    September 21, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Vote NO on Question 1. Gay couples deserve the exact rights heterosexual couples have.

  8. beetlebabee said,

    September 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    I believe Kevin, that has already been accomplished. What gay activists demand has nothing to do with marriage, but with societal change.

  9. Marie said,

    September 23, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Gutting the gender language from Maine law would be a mistake. Why haven’t we heard about this? It’s not just the marriage issue, this affects all law in Maine.

  10. Ross said,

    September 24, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Marie do explain to me how letting the two women down the street (or the two men down the street for that matter) marry affects your classification as a woman. Whether or not you are married does not define you as a woman. Sounds like you got some repressed feminist issues going on. Perhaps you were molested as a child as you claim all homosexuals have been in your previous comments? Classic
    case of projection perhaps?

  11. Euripides said,

    September 24, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Ross:

    I must commend you for your masterful use of a red herring to throw off the discussion entirely. Your question about the definition of woman and of marriage demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the issue. I’m also impressed how you go straight for the ad hominem attack against Marie, merely on the grounds that you don’t like what she said.

    Folks, Ross’ example shows the mentality of those who argue in favor of neutering marriage. Lacking any substantive arguments, other than a vague sense of “fairness,” Ross and others try to derail the argument by throwing red herrings and personal attacks.

    Back to the topic at hand, any news on how Mainers are reacting to the concept of neutering the entire vocabulary of marriage? Is this the proper role of government, to redefine social institutions into its own image? Do we give government that much power, to change words and redefine their meaning?

    I suppose it depends on what the meaning of is, is.

  12. rene said,

    September 24, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    looks like a cut and paste job anyway. Sorry Ross. Personal attacks just don’t fly well. They tend to land with a lousy flop.

  13. Ross said,

    September 25, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Euripedes, you also are guilty of throwing in the typical red herring excuses as well. Since you’re so keen on rhetorical questions ask yourself, why is the gender requirement of marriage so important anyways? So much that you would go so far to throw around such lofty negative words such as “neutering”

    Is it because of the procreative element/bringing the sexes together? Procreation is not a requirement of marriage, and the sexes come together without marriage.

    Is it for the sake of the married couple’s children? Children are also not a requirement of marriage, and the benefits marriage has on them is more of an added bonus than any sort of “core meaning” of marriage.

    Love? Committment?

    So tell me, why is the gender requirement so important? Why does bringing a man and woman together deserve a special status when it happens all the time anyways without the special status?

    Awaiting your answer.

  14. beetlebabee said,

    September 25, 2009 at 9:20 am

    lol Ross, what’s with the blinking innocence? Haven’t we already gone through all this?

  15. Euripides said,

    September 25, 2009 at 9:54 am

    bb:

    Yes, Ross is baiting again with another red herring. Now he’s added argument baiting. At least he got back to the topic.

    Here’s a question for you Ross. How are gender and children not the fundamental bases of marriage? If you can answer that instead of dismissing them out of hand because they don’t fit your worldview, then you’ll have answered the questions you posed for me.

  16. Euripides said,

    September 25, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Ross:

    Another question for you – why do homosexuals deserve special status to neuter the institution of marriage? What concepts of love and commitment could possibly outweigh the institution of marriage as a social and political entity?

    Answer that and you’ll have answered your own question.

  17. Ross said,

    September 26, 2009 at 4:14 am

    Euripedes, I’ll restate the question. As answering questions with questions is merely another typical anti-SSM tactic to avoid issues…as you have demonstrated.

    To repeat:

    “So tell me, why is the gender requirement of marriage so important? Why does bringing a man and woman together deserve a special status when it happens all the time anyways without the special status?”

    Still waiting…

  18. Euripides said,

    September 26, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Ross:

    You missed the point.

    The answer is in the question. If you don’t know or reject how gender and children are fundamental to marriage, then you cannot or will not accept any answer based on those as fundamental criteria for marriage.

    Obviously, you do not think gender or children as requirements in marriage is important. Since you’ve already rejected the answer that you expect from me, there’s no point in answering your question except with another question: How are gender and children not the fundamental bases of marriage?

  19. Ross said,

    September 27, 2009 at 7:50 am

    Because marriage is not dependent on gender on children. Children, for one, are merely a possible side effect of marriage. Children are not a requirement of marriage (as many married couples do not procreate or even desire to procreate). And also marriage is not a requirement of procreation. As plenty of unmarried people procreate. Therefore, how are children a fundamental requirement of marriage? Please elaborate.

    The same goes for gender. As gender at this point is a requirement of marriage (and this is what marriage equality activists are hoping to remove). But marriage is not a requirement of combining genders. As two gender people can do that just fine on their own (see above).

    Therefore, since I answered your question quite bluntly, please answer mine.

    I’ll restate it

    “why is the gender requirement of marriage so important? ”

    If two people of the opposite sex can form relationships and procreate just fine without marriage why is gender that important.

    To answer your question (How are gender and children not the fundamental bases of marriage?) very blunty….. Gender and children are the fundamental bases of procreation. Not marriage.

  20. beetlebabee said,

    September 27, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    “Children, for one, are merely a possible side effect of marriage.”

    Children are a possible side effect of man/woman sexual relations, not necessarily marriage. Marriage promotes responsible procreation within the bonds of stable family.

    “why is the gender requirement of marriage so important? ”

    Quite simply marriage promotes responsible procreation, and procreation happens between a man and a woman. No other human relationship is as important to the generations and society as a whole than the relationship between a mother and a father, married and committed for life to each other and their children. Marriage encourages a stable environment where children may be born and raised. Other human relationships can be wonderful, edifying and beneficial, but they are not marriage.

  21. Euripides said,

    September 27, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Ross:

    bb said it more eloquently than I. Your question, by the way, is a tautology and cannot be answered in any way that will satisfy you. That is why I kept asking you the same type of question. Here’s the gist:

    “Marriage isn’t about gender and children so convince me why marriage is about gender and children.”

    There is no answer to this question because you disallow the answer to the question before you ask the question. Your question, therefore, is not valid or tenable. So bb stepped in and gave the answer that makes sense with regard to the defense of marriage, despite your untenable question.

  22. Ross said,

    September 27, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Beetle: “Other human relationships can be wonderful, edifying and beneficial, but they are not marriage.”

    So then you support civil unions and domestic partnership laws to give same sex couples the rights to help keep the family unit they have chosen intact?

  23. Ross said,

    September 27, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Euripedes, this isnt about “satisfying” me. I was merely asking your definition of why you believe marriage is based off of procreation and gender. I stated why I believe it is not. Obviously we have different definitions of marriage, I was merely asking you to tell me your definition so that we can compare and contrast the two

    Though I do think it interesting that you can’t fully verbalize what it is that you are working so hard to “protect”

  24. beetlebabee said,

    September 27, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Ross, the solution I think is most equitable is the Salt Lake City plan that some states are implementing. It provides benefits for all close relationships, regardless of sexuality. See info on it here: http://www.gaysdefendmarriage.com/2009/05/06/colorado-adopts-salt-lake-city-plan/

    It provides the benefits without setting up an institution that competes with or mimics marriage. It simply takes marriage out of the equation.

  25. Euripides said,

    September 27, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Ross:

    Historical marriage has always been defined as the union of a man and a woman for the purpose of promoting responsible procreation. The two sexes combine to create a unique and essential legal and social relationship which channels human sexuality into responsible and socially fundamental functions, namely adult complementary sexual union that results in the procreation, nurturing, and training of the next generation. Without the institution of marriage, the next generation of children are left without the social structure which will most likely allow them to succeed to adulthood and to carry on the human race.

    There is no excuse for the wanton dismissal of the institution of marriage. Those who fight to neuter marriage do so at the risk of perpetrating a social order that, by definition, is self-destructive to its own ends. No legal nor social reorganization of the institution of marriage can replace the fundamental importance of bearing and raising the next generation of children to be responsible adults. No substitute or surrogate family structures can ever replace the core mother/father/children relationship as a better means of accomplishing the survival of humanity.

    That’s what I’m protecting.

  26. CP said,

    October 1, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    union of same sex couples in no way devalues that of a heterosexual couple. same sex couples exists already, how has this hurt you or your family?

  27. James said,

    October 1, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    CP, we are all hurt when marriage is hurt.

  28. James said,

    October 1, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Marriage is defined to serve the public interest, not private special interests. Marriage is a public institution, not a mere private arrangement. The law allows many private relations organized and defined as the private parties wish, but the institution of marriage between a man and a woman exists and is protected by law to promote fundamental social needs, including the necessary link between husbands and wives and between parents and children for critical social needs, not just to bind boyfriends and girlfriends and other romantic interests.


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