Bigotry and Spin
I'm glad I was away from newspapers and television for a week.
Gay rights opponents submitted more than 57,000 signatures to the Secretary of State's Office on Tuesday afternoon to force a November referendum on the new state law protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination.
They had made a lot of noise about how they might not make it, but that was obviously just a ploy for some free publicity. They pulled the exact same stunts in 1998, such as referring to the signature results as a "miracle".
Speaker John Richardson, quoted in an AP story, had an excellent response.
"Three months ago men and women from all parts of Maine and all political parties stood together to pass landmark legislation to protect people of all sexual identities from discrimination in the workplace, in housing, lending and education. That was a proud day for Maine," Richardson said.
"I am not surprised by todays announcement that Michael Heath and the Christian Civic League have submitted signatures to the Secretary of State for verification that would force a referendum on that issue. I am also not disappointed by todays announcement.
"I welcome the chance to go before the people of Maine and defend this policy. I think that this is an opportunity for Maine to join the rest of New England in saying that it is wrong to let the majority of society dictate to the minority the rights they should have.
"I hope that in the coming months we can have an open and honest debate about why the people of Maine should stand behind eliminating discrimination and support this policy," Richardson said.
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