Maine’s Question One – A Question For California?
On the evening of November 4, 2009, members of civil and same-sex marriage rights organizations will stage a rally at the California State Capitol to protest the passing of Prop 8 exactly one year ago. Roughly three thousand miles away in the state of Maine, Question One will have been answered for citizens hoping their state is the next state to legalize same-sex marriage.
Maine is the latest battleground for supporters of same-sex marriage. On November 3, they will be the first in any state with the chance to repeal or uphold a law passed by their state Legislature and signed by their governor, legalizing such marriages. The ballot measure, Question One, results from Maine’s provision for a “people’s veto”, which means any newly passed law can be subject to repeal by voters if enough signatures can be obtained to trigger a referendum.
Back here in California, supporters of same-sex marriage are cautiously hopeful for a landmark victory that they believe would have an impact here. If the law is unhealed it could help with a positive momentum many believe is happening in California. The real question is how would a defeat, Maine voters repealing the law; affect California in overturning Prop 8?
“I don’t think anyone really knows for sure,” answered Tina Reynolds, co-founder of Equality Action Now, a grassroots civil rights organization based in Sacramento and organizer of the California State Capitol protest. “Maine is our sister state fighting the same lies and distortions created by the religious right to repeal their same sex marriage laws. The radical right is using fear in the same manner as they used against us in California.”
Reynolds goes on to say, “November 4 will be the one year anniversary when California’s LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transsexual, Questioning, Intersex) community lost our equality and it will be the day after the vote in Maine. We will stand on our own state capitol steps in solidarity with our Maine brothers and sisters. We will celebrate with them or join arms and continue to gain strength to fight on a national level with them!”
Whatever the decision of Maine voters, knowing the track record of California gay rights activists who seem to have the resiliency to press on year-after-year, the fight for same-sex marriage will continue to move ahead until it is settled for good. While Maine could provide a boost or depression, it is likely to have a short term affect to the efforts here in California. One good indication could be the attendance and the mood of participants, both for and against gay marriage, who show up on the west steps of the California State Capitol Building, November 4th at 5:00 pm. It could be a defining moment with national implications.