Religious Leaders Rally for Marriage Equality in Maine
September 21, 2012 by Matt McTighe
Matt McTighe is the campaign manager for Mainers United for Marriage, the campaign working to win marriage equality in Maine.
Leaders from several faith groups united Wednesday in Portland, ME to rally support for marriage equality in the state. The gathering revolved around Question 1, the referendum that would allow same-sex marriage in Maine.
Members of Catholics for Marriage Equality, the Religious Coalition Against Discrimination, and many other faith traditions voiced a common conviction: the referendum is critical for both civil rights and religious freedom.
“I stand firmly rooted in a tradition that honors freedom of choice, a phrase often heard these days as threatened, or at risk of being taken away.” said Rev. Robert Grove-Markwood, President of Bangor Theological Seminary. “For me, my faith is about choice at the heart of the matter, my personal choice to believe, and to trust in God. In that regard, it is my conviction that when Question 1 passes, no one’s freedom of choice, or freedom to practice their faith, will be taken away. Some will gain the freedom to choose to be fully wedded to another person, in the eyes of the state, with all the attendant legal protections and obligations – as well as to be married in the eyes of God.”
Religious leaders at the gathering Wednesday support all citizens’ rights to marry who they love. They dismiss the notion that marriage equality somehow infringes upon religious freedom, which Question 1 specifically addresses:
“This chapter does not require any member of the clergy to perform or any church, religious denomination or other religious institution to host any marriage in violation of the religious beliefs of that member of the clergy, church, religious denomination or other religious institution.”
Instead of taking away freedom, these religious leaders argue Question 1 maximizes freedom for all Mainers.
"Saying yes on one does not take away religious freedom. It increases and celebrates the freedoms we share," says Rev. Ben Shambaugh.
Watch this recent video from Mainers United for Marriage about Question 1 and protecting religious freedoms:
No matter where you live, you can make a difference in Maine. HRC has set up a special fund – HRC Maine Families PAC – to direct 100 percent of your contribution to help win marriage equality in Maine. Together, we can mobilize the majority of Mainers who support marriage equality and win at the ballot this November.
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