'Maine Marriage Stand' a Fight for Society

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Maine has been more of a battleground since same-sex marriage was almost legalized in the state this past May.

Now, voters will have a chance Nov. 3 to decide if the definition of marriage will stand as between one man and one woman.

Traditional marriage supporters, who brought the issue to a vote, are getting their message across through ads and campaigns, along with those in favor of homosexual marriage.

Currently Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont allow homosexuals to marry. New Hampshire joins the group in January. All five legalized same-sex marriage without the input of voters.

In May, Maine lawmakers voted against state law, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and instead passed a new measure upholding homosexual marriage.

'The People's Veto' 

The governor then signed the bill. However, a group of citizens from around the state fought for the issue to be put on the ballot in November.

"The Lord stirred the hearts of His people so that they got involved like they never have before," said Pastor Bob Emrich, the director of the Maine Jeremiah Project.

They got involved in what's known as the "People's Veto." In Maine, any new law can be subject to repeal by voters. 

The coalition known as "Stand for Marriage Maine" had only 90 days to gather 55,087 signatures. More than 100,000 residents signed the petition in just 45 days -- half the time allowed by law.
         
"I'm certainly not doing it for any personal reasons," said Marc Mutty, who heads up the "Stand for Marriage Maine" campaign. "Who would enjoy being removed from a number of boards and organizations that I worked for for years because of my position with the campaign?"

'Yes on 1' Campaign

It's a heavy price to pay, but worth it for the men and women encouraging residents of Maine to vote "Yes on 1," and uphold traditional marriage -- which they believe is a building block of society. 

If homosexual marriage is allowed in Maine, terms like "bride" and "groom" and "husband" and "wife" will be wiped out and made gender-neutral throughout the law, including in public documents and court rulings.

"It makes me angry, quite frankly," said Mary Conroy of Stand for Marriage Maine. "Being a female, you dream about being a bride and all that goes along with that. It's so special because it's unique to a female."

"It just bothered me," said Scott Fish of Stand for Marriage Maine. "I said this is not good. This is not good for this generation of Mainers. It's not good for future generations of Mainers."       

Supporters of traditional marriage are concerned about how a gender-neutral society, where same-sex marriage is legal, can harm children in their upbringing and education. They believe it will fundamentally change how children are taught to understand marriage and family.

"So when Susie asks, 'Aren't my father and mother bringing me up? Isn't that the norm in society?'" Mutty elaborated. "No, no, it's going to be...'Any combination is just fine, and one is no better than the other, thank you very much.'"

Thirty other states have voted on this issue, and each time, people voted in favor of traditional marriage. 

Recent polling shows 39 percent of Americans support legalizing same-sex marriage. One of the supporters is Maine resident, Reverend Marvin Ellison, a professor at Bangor Theological Seminary, and a spokesperson for the "No on 1" campaign.

"There is no more fundamental right than to enter into an intimate association with another person of one's own choosing and become next of kin," Ellison said.

When CBN News asked Ellison if he believes homosexuality is a sin, he responded, "I don't believe you can talk about sin in terms of categories of persons."

Under Political Microscope     

Voters in Maine will be the first in any state to repeal or uphold the law passed by the state legislature, and that has Maine under the political microscope.   

This issue is by no means limited to the state of Maine. Both sides believe it has national implications, and they are bringing in reinforcements from across the country to help.

Those helping include Frank Schubert, who coordinated the Proposition 8 campaign in California where voters banned gay marriage, as well as Pastor Chris Clark of San Diego, who knows the importance of getting out the vote.

"What happens in Maine is going to galvanize one side or the other," Clark said. "So we're going to be directly involved as to the results here in Maine."

"What takes place here in Maine will have an impact on what other state legislatures will do," said Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, an organization also helping in Maine. "You've got Congress looking at the Defense of Marriage Act. The president said he wants to repeal it."

Money is also pouring in from outside of the state, but those on the front lines say the battle over redefining marriage must be fought on a different level -- so that the light of truth about marriage shines clearly.

"This is a spiritual issue," Clark explained. "This is one that is fought on its knees. This is a battle best fought in the arena of prayer. This has to be done by God and God alone."

*Original Broadcast Date: October 22, 2009. 

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Mark Martin

Mark Martin

CBN News Reporter

Mark Martin is a reporter and anchor at CBN News, covering various issues from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East and traveled to Bahrain to cover stories on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkMartinCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/MarkMartinCBN.