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Question 1 Debate Between SFMM’s Marc Mutty and MCLU’s Shenna Bellows

Today’s Lewiston Sun Journal has a front page story regarding the public debate held at the Lewiston Public Library yesterday:

More than 60 people turned out for a debate on Question 1, the referendum to reject Maine’s law allowing same-sex marriage, during a Great Falls Forum lecture at the Lewiston Public Library on Thursday.

Marc Mutty, who is on leave from his job with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland and is chairman of the Stand for Marriage Maine group, faced off against Shenna Bellows, the executive director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union and a leader in the No on 1/Protect Marriage Equality campaign.

Each was given 15 minutes to present their side’s views, follows by an open Q&A session. They then both gave short conclusions.

Excerpts from Marc Mutty’s speech:

“We see this as a radical cultural change and one that is extremely significant that has far-reaching consequences over the long run for our society,” he said.

The new marriage statute eliminates language praising family and the potential for bringing new life into society. It instead proposes that love is the core of a relationship, that “love binds people,” Mutty said.

“That’s radically different than what we’ve seen traditionally,” he said. “Traditionally, marriage has been, of course, wrapped in the concept of love, but it was the framework for creating family, the framework for controlling male urges to spread the seed across the land and to bring the species together.

Shenna Bellows:

“A wonderful thing about the U.S. Constitution and the Maine Constitution is that they guarantee both equal protection under the law, prohibition against discrimination against anyone, and (they) provide for religious liberty,” she said.

Bellows said the law drafted by the Legislature allows for both same-sex marriage and religious freedom protections.

“First, it defines legal marriage as the legal union of two persons; second, it honors marriages in other states; and third, and really, really, truly important, it affirms religious freedom by specifically stating explicitly in the law that no religious institution, indeed no individual, no notary of the public or attorney, no person authorized to marry two people would have to participate in same-sex marriage, honor, solemnize or recognize same-sex marriage,” she said.

Bellows responded to Mutty’s assertion that same-sex couples receive equal rights through a means other than marriage, such as a stronger domestic partnership law, by saying separate rights are not equal rights.

“This is the civil rights moment of our day,” she said. “We cannot construct a separate institution that would solve these problems and also treat all families equally. So think of our friends, think of our neighbors, think of folks right here in Lewiston who just want to be treated equally and fairly under the law.”

Below, full video footage of the event.

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