Yesterday in the city of Augusta Maine, the Reverend Bob Emich, Roman Catholic Bishop Richard Malone and head of the fundamentalist Family Research Council Tony Perkins gathered for a meeting in favor of ending same-sex marriage in Maine. You’ll notice that those leaders are all Christian religious figures. Indeed, the “Stand for Marriage Maine” organization has been largely funded by Christian organizations from outside of Maine. This is the first dimension of exclusion practiced by Stand for Marriage Maine: religious exclusivity.
The second dimension of exclusivity practiced by the anti-gay “Stand for Marriage Maine” is racial exclusion. In its audition call for actors willing to pretend to be a waitress or a teacher who opposes gay marriage, Stand for Marriage Maine specified that it wanted Whites Only for the part. Colored people need not apply.
The third dimension of exclusivity became apparent yesterday when Stand for Marriage Maine closed its meeting to Mainers of every variety except for those individuals organizers identified as safely opposed to gay marriage. No undecided voters allowed. No media allowed either. What words didn’t Stand for Marriage Maine want everyday Mainers or reporters to hear?
The fourth dimension of exclusion advocated by “Stand for Marriage Maine” is the very reason for its being: to deny the equal protection under law guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, to kill Maine’s new marriage equality law, to erect a sign that declares, “Straights Only, please.”
Tonight in Auburn Maine, the organization called NO on 1 / Protect Maine Equality is inviting everyone to attend a community conversation. Gay people, lesbian people, transgendered people and straight people are welcome. People of all religions and no religion are welcome. White people, brown people, red people and yellow people are welcome. People who disagree with the NO on 1 campaign are welcome. And yes, media people are welcome to attend as well. I asked a representative of NO on 1 / Protect Maine Equality last night whether it would be acceptable for me to record and write about the proceedings at that community conversation tonight. His response to me:
This is an open meeting and it is open to all. You are a part of the Maine community having this conversation. So as a person and a writer of course you’re welcome to attend and to write about what you see and hear.
Which group’s approach matches your vision of American democracy?