The “No on 1: Protect Marriage Equality” effort is a civil rights movement to support and protect all Maine families. In contrast, the conservative religious fundamentalist, “Yes on 1: Stand for Marriage Maine,” movement is an effort to limit the rights of families to the heterosexual one man one woman variety. Despite high divorce rates in heterosexual families, fundamentalists opposed to marriage equality insist that the heterosexual dyad is where it is at for raising children. They ignore the reality of successful parenting among single parents and same-sex couples—who are increasingly approaching over half of the families raising children in this country. Preserving heterosexual superiority is the agenda of the Catholic Church, Protestant fundamentalists, and especially Mormons. Not surprisingly these groups are the largest contributors to the Yes on 1 campaign in Maine.
In asserting heterosexual superiority, fundamentalists insist that granting the right of civil marriage to same-sex couples will be giving them special rights, privileges, and benefits. Unspoken is the conservative commitment to reinstating patriarchy. Their movement is bigger than an assault on LGBT civil rights. It is an assault on feminism and a longing for “the way things used to be” before women raised their voices for equality and gays and lesbians busted down closet doors. Most of all it is a cruel denial of reality.
According to the 2000 Census, self-identified LGBT families are in 99% of all US counties and in 96% of those counties these families are raising children. Maine is probably no different. Children in LGBT families are usually not LGBT. They are heterosexual kids who are in our schools and have to listen to ads on TV and radio that denigrate their LGBT parents.
Families are supposed to be our safe havens. Indeed they serve that purpose for other minorities. But LGBT kids are not likely to have LGBT parents and they often have no one at home who understands them. Perhaps they are in a heterosexual family that supports denying any rights, especially marriage to LGBT people. What message are these heterosexual parents giving to their LGBT kid? You’re not worthy of rights, especially the right to marry.
Maine voters have an opportunity to affirm all of Maine’s families at the polls on November 3rd. Voters have an opportunity to protect all of Maine’s children making sure that the families that they live in are protected by all the rights, privileges, and benefits that is the birthright of all Americans. Marriage is the gold-standard for family protection in this country and that is why LGBT people are seeking it.