The people of Maine narrowly voted to repeal a law allowing gay marriage, making Maine the 31st state to reject same-sex marriage at the ballot box. (Five states have legalized gay unions through the courts or legislative action.) Gay-rights groups, smarting from their failure to defeat California's Prop 8 last year, were hoping to turn the tide in a New England state with a "live and let live" tradition. Why did Maine reject same-sex marriage?
The majority didn't want it, pure and simple: The issue of gay marriage "loses when the people decide," says Thomas Peters in National Review. "And it loses every time." Unlike in California, gay-rights groups can't blame it on the Mormons this time. Maine—like all the other states—simply supports traditional marriage.
"Remember (the) Maine!"
The Catholic Church got out the "no" vote: This time it wasn't the Mormon Church, says Bridgette P. LaVictoire in Lez Get Real, it was the Catholic Church that stirred up "bigotry, hatred, and suspicion" to get Maine to "turn its back on equality." The gay-marriage opponents simply put the trusty tyranny of the majority to work—as former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura put it, "If you put it up to the vote of the people, we’d have slavery again."
"The shame and betrayal of Maine’s New England values"
Inevitably, civil rights movements face setbacks: The Maine vote was a setback for gay rights, says Andrew Sullivan in The Atlantic, but civil-rights history is full of those. The important thing to remember is how far we've come—a decade ago the gay-marriage issues "was toxic," and now, in Catholic Maine, it divides people evenly. "Soon, it will win everywhere."
"The other marriage nail-biter: Victory"
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