Maine Politics

From the Piscataqua to the St. John

Monday, January 17, 2005

Tactics

Representative Duprey of Hampden probably thinks he has pulled off a pretty clever political maneuver. This session he introduced LR 991 “An Act to Legalize Same Sex Marriages”. He personally opposes the bill and claims unconvincingly that he submitted it at the request of a constituent that he refuses to name. His hope is obviously that gay rights advocates will champion the measure and that the anti-discrimination legislation that Baldacci will soon introduce will seem more extreme if it can be linked with a discussion of same-sex marriage.

Duprey did succeed in forcing gay rights proponents in Maine make some tough decisions. Equality Maine expressed their concerns in a letter sent to members discussing the group’s legislative agenda:

The question about Rep. Duprey’s same-sex marriage bill is not whether we support, but what to do with it? Do we put our weight behind it, leaving fewer resources to defeat the constitutional amendment? Do we not put our weight behind it and come out looking like we don’t support same-sex marriage?

EM decided last week to oppose the bill, and so will the governor and the democratic leadership, making it certain to die a quick death.

Before it dies, however, the legislation will be discussed, and along with Strimling’s bills it will increase the public debate on the issue. In a cultural issue such as this, the more times “same-sex” and “marriage” appear in the same sentence, the better for gay rights advocates.

So Duprey’s bill will most likely have little real political impact. It did accomplish one thing, however. It showed the people of Hampden that their representative is either 1) willing to submit any bill, however much it goes against his own principles if they ask him to or 2) a liar. Some of his constituents should draw up a resolution condemning Duprey’s conniving, ask him to submit it, and find out which one is true.



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