Gay Rights and the People's Voice
The Blethen papers today have conflicting editorials. Both agree that the anti-discrimination legislation is needed, while the Kennebec Journal / Morning Sentinel piece advocates lawmakers deciding the measure while the PPH advocates another mandated referendum (but only because it would resolve the matter more quickly than waiting for a repeal petition).
I agree with this passage from the KJ/MS piece:
That certain voters in Maine oppose gay rights is not reason to put the bill to a referendum.
The bill's fate should be decided by lawmakers, who are elected to do what is best for their constituents and who are responsible for providing forward-thinking leadership for all of Maine.
While the voting booth is the right place to decide certain laws, the gay-rights bill is not one of them.
I'd also add that while it's true that this legislation will most likely be put to voters one way or another, I see no reason to do the Christian Civic League's dirty work for them by requiring a referendum on the bill.
In the last "people's veto" in 1997, it took a last-minute infusion of money from national anti-homosexual groups to get the required number of signatures. At the time, Mike Heath described the result as a miracle. With a bit of luck, their challenge this time around might fail. At the very least, a petition drive will tie up some money that would otherwise have been spent on opposing gay rights in other venues.
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