Should you visit Sagadahoc County, Maine?
If you’re a gay or lesbian American, the question is not as simple as picking up a brochure of the area and deciding if the local attractions look like fun. It’s unfortunate, but same-sex couples have to consider whether they’ll be welcomed, cold-shouldered, harassed or even assaulted for the simple act of holding hands in a community. It is reasonable and prudent to ask whether Sagadahoc County, Maine is a gay-safe destination.
A recent source of information is the vote on same-sex marriage in Maine, in which Mainers came out to the polls on November 3, 2009 to narrowly outlaw marriage rights for gay and lesbian people. That vote was unevenly dispersed, with some towns widely affirming gay and lesbian marriage equality and others strongly rejecting it.
Below is a map of Sagadahoc County, Maine, a coastal county just east of Bowdoin College. I’ve gathered election results for the towns within it and color coded them, with blue towns being the most supportive of same-sex marriage and green towns being moderately supportive of marriage equality. Pink towns, on the other hand, are those that voted with a majority in opposition to marriage equality; yellow towns would signify those towns that rejected gay and lesbian people getting married by a large margin. The white area of Perkins township is the uninhabited area of Swan Island.
Immediately noticeable is the lack of any yellow-colored towns on that map. Unlike Androscoggin County, Maine, which is dominated by hostility to gay and lesbian equality, Sagadahoc County contains no town in which opposition to same-sex marriage is overwhelming.
A ribbon of gay-friendly towns wind through Sagadahoc County, suggesting a possible route for travelers who are gay, lesbian, or simply appreciative of places that embrace equality. The towns of Topsham, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Bath, Arrowsic and Georgetown cast majority votes for equal protection under law, an American constitutional value. If you’re interested in boating and shipbuilding, pop into Bath’s Maine Maritime Museum and revel. A lighthouse on the Kennebec river beckons in Arrowsic. If you like a sandy beach (rare in Maine), try Georgetown’s Reid State Park, which boasts dunes for the sand-castle builders and tidepools for the pokers among us. As for trails through the woods, fields, and rocky points in these towns? Oh, they’re just about everywhere.
Enjoy yourself in Sagadahoc County. And while you do, know that you’re welcome.