Tomorrow, Maine voters decide whether to repeal Maine's 4-month-old same-sex marriage law. Don't be mistaken: this is an historic election. Tomorrow Maine can become the first state in the country to support marriage equality in a statewide vote.
Two summers ago I proudly watched as my daughter, Hannah Pingree, was married in a simple ceremony in our community. Good friends of ours -- two men in a long time committed relationship who had known Hannah since she was a small child -- performed the ceremony. I'll never forget what one of them said to Hannah the day before the wedding.
"I'm so proud of you, Hannah," David said. "But I want to remind you that tomorrow you will be doing something we can't do by getting married."
The next year Hannah became Speaker of the Maine House and she, along with other legislative leaders and our governor, made Maine one of the first states in the country to make same-sex marriage legal through the legislative process. I was so proud of my daughter and her colleagues in the state capitol that day.
Maine people have a live-and-let-live philosophy, and tend to be fair and open-minded. Left to themselves, I have no doubt that they would support true marriage equality for all Maine families.
The problem is, they haven't been left to themselves.
The same forces that were behind Prop 8 in California have moved their entire operation to Maine. The anti-marriage equality effort in Maine is a carbon copy of the California effort -- including false and misleading ads intended to frighten parents and distract attention from the real issue of marriage equality. Funded primarily by the right-wing National Organization for Marriage, they have tried to convince parents that legalizing same-sex marriage in Maine will lead to "explicit" discussions of gay sex as part of a "gay friendly curriculum." For kindergartners.
The anti-marriage side has not exactly set the standard for openness and transparency. Last month they went to court to try and avoid state law that requires the names of donors to be reported. And it's been two weeks since the last campaign finance report, so we have no way of knowing how much they've raised in these final days -- but I am told that they have increased their ad buy significantly. A massive infusion from an outside group (think the Mormon Church in California's Prop 8 campaign) at the last minute wouldn't be a surprise.
You can help. Go to Protect Maine Equality to learn more.
The vote in Maine can go one of two ways tomorrow. It can be a victory for those who prefer fear and misinformation over honest discussion. Or it can be a victory for fairness and equality that will resonate across the country and, I guarantee, through the halls of Congress. Please help make the difference for my state by clicking here.
Follow Rep. Chellie Pingree on Twitter: www.twitter.com/chelliepingree