For once, I am praying that the old saying “as Maine goes, so goes the nation” does not hold true.
Born and raised in the state of Maine, I have always been a proud Mainiac. Many friends would say my pride goes to the point of snobbishness and they would be right. Maine is, in my opinion, a great state.
Until today. Today, 53% of Maine voters repealed a law to allow same-sex marriages. The law would have redefined “marriage” as a the “legally recognized union of two people” rather than that solely of a man and woman.
The outcome of this vote sickens me with disappointment in the people of my state, a state I have long touted as being warm, open-minded and thoughtful.
It also feels like my own upcoming marriage in Maine has been lessened, cheapened and made slightly sordid because many, many people I know will not be able to choose to make this same commitment. A commitment of the heart, soul and mind.
A comment on Facebook this morning pointed out that many people used to feel the same way about interracial marriages. The Loving vs. Virginia case in1963 legally declared that interracial couples could marry and that laws prohibiting couples from marrying were in violation of “one of the ‘basic civil rights of man'”.
During the initial trial in Virginia, Judge Leo Bazile declared:
Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.
Does this not echo the very same arguments being made against same-sex marriage? Bazile’s view of racial division and interracial marriage seems almost quaint and certainly bigoted and old-fashioned by today’s standards.
Perhaps that’s our challenge here in this century – in this decade. To overcome the bigotry that prevents a group of individuals from having the same rights as others. To stand up against this blatant discrimination. To make right what has gone so very wrong in the state of Maine, so that someday we can look back at this issue, with a shadow of shame, and comment on how foolish and quaint it once seemed to deny people the right to marry.