Over the weekend, the two largest daily papers in Maine have come out against Question 1, the ballot measure which would overturn the marriage equality law passed by the legislature earlier this year. The Bangor Daily News said that allowing same-sex marriage “furthers the state’s interest in promoting stable families”:

It is only natural that changing the definition of something as fundamental as marriage makes some uncomfortable. However, marriage has changed over time — interracial marriages were once banned, and men were allowed to have many wives — without harming heterosexual marriages. In a country where the divorce rate is too high and too many children grow up in dysfunctional and abusive families, encouraging more adults to commit to long-term, loving relationships is a positive, not a negative […]

It is hard to see how allowing more people to marry will weaken marriage. Instead, it seems the strong desire of gay and lesbian couples to be married, rather than declared domestic partners, shows the value and importance of marriage.

And the Portland Press-Herald similarly called for the law to catch up to meet our changing times, and debunked many of the scare tactics of the anti-equality side:

While it’s technically true that the law would change the wording of the definition of marriage in state statute, it would not change the institution as it exists in Maine for thousands of traditional couples. Those vows would not be any weaker if same-sex couples were allowed to take them. Marriage would remain the key foundation for creating families, with the rights and responsibilities that come with it spelled out in the law, whether those families are headed by same- or opposite-sex couples.

Limiting marriage to a man and a woman would not make families led by same-sex couples go away. It would just keep them in a legally inferior position that is inconsistent with Maine’s tradition of equal protection under the law.

If No on 1 emerges victorious in Maine, it would represent the first time a ballot measure of this type has been defeated at the polls.

David Dayen

David Dayen