Over the weekend, Dan Demeritt, the former communications director for Maine’s extreme Tea Party governor, published an op-ed in the Portland Press Herald announcing his support for marriage equality.
It’s a pretty remarkable endorsement, considering that he worked for such a right-wing administration. It also follows the launch of Republicans United for Marriage, a subset of Mainers United for Marriage.
Maine law currently denies committed same-sex couples an equal chance to celebrate and protect through marriage the lives they have built together. If ours is truly a free and fair society, government should not treat one class of adult differently from another. Couples willing to share a life together should have equal access to a civil marriage license, regardless of sexual orientation.
The marriage question is about fair access and treatment at city hall, not new requirements on religious institutions. The initiative includes protections from liability for churches and clergy who choose not to perform or host same-sex marriages.
I am going to vote for the marriage initiative because I believe in freedom and opportunity for all. I am talking publicly about my position because of the difference a supportive spouse has made in my life and because of the growth I have experienced as a friend and father.
Demeritt also warns of the false claims of marriage equality harming children (that we all expect and saw last time) and praises the groundwork laid by Mainers United for Marriage.
To create doubt in the minds of persuadable voters, Protect Marriage Maine, as was the case in 2009, will try to raise concerns about the impact that same-sex marriage will have on children. I believe these concerns will be exaggerated and unreasonable but potentially compelling for voters who do not have strongly held views on same-sex marriage.
Mainers United for Marriage has done an outstanding job of building the framework of a winning campaign. But so far, it is has been an effort focused more on principles and coalitions than on the raw concerns that will move undecided voters on Election Day.