Maine Politics

From the Piscataqua to the St. John

Sunday, March 06, 2005

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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