Gay and lesbian couples planning a visit to Maine in the near future have a different set of considerations than the rest of us. In addition to researching events, outdoors activities, scenic vistas and affordability, same-sex couples are well-advised to consider whether the way they will be treated for holding hands while on holiday. Tallies from the November 3, 2009 vote on Ballot Question 1 provide information about which places in Maine are open and welcoming to gay and lesbian couples… and which places are hostile.
Ballot Question 1, for the unfamiliar, was a referendum funded by religious groups that overturned the legal right of Maine same-sex couples to get married. The referendum narrowly passed, but the vote was unequally distributed, with some towns in Maine voting overwhelmingly to outlaw same-sex marriage but other towns overwhelmingly voting in favor of marriage equality. Today, let’s take a look at how the people of Penobscot County, Maine came out to vote.
Below is a color-coded map of Penobscot County, Maine, with blue and green towns denoting towns that voted in defense of marriage equality. Yellow and pink towns, on the other hand, are those that voted with a majority against gay and lesbian people being permitted to marry. Areas appearing in white have too few people living there to host a voting precinct.
The pattern in this map is pretty clear: if you’re looking to avoid hostility in your visit, it’s best to stick to the Penobscot River. Indeed, the Penobscot Nation that occupies various islands in the Penobscot River itself came out in the largest proportion to support marriage equality for same-sex couples; the museum on Indian Island makes a good start for a tour. The city of Bangor and the towns of Orono, Old Town and Veazie, all clustered together, are the other places where majorities voted in defense of equality for gay and lesbian couples. If you’re headed out into the mountains and woods, why not make this area your home base?