The campaign for marriage equality in Maine is officially on. Yesterday, the Secretary of State certified that opponents had collected enough signatures to place their referendum to repeal the marriage equality law, which was passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor, on the ballot.
Yesterday, the Governor who signed the law, John Baldacci, also signed the order setting our election for November 3rd. (In Maine, voting will actually start in early October. Our state has one of the most liberal absentee ballot laws - and we have same-day registration). And, I should note that the Governor also did a fundraiser for our campaign last night and is a strong ally in our effort.
Now, the certification does not come as a surprise. We expected it. And, we've been gearing up for months to fight this battle.
Today, the campaign launched our first series of TV ads, which you can see here:
Also, be sure to check out the second TV ad, featuring Portland resident Bill Whitten talking about his gay daughter.
It's a painful reality that same-sex couples have to ask the citizens of Maine to allow them the right to get married. But, as we know, our opponents are tenacious -- and well-funded. Led by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and the Catholic Church, which have both made significant contributions, the anti-marriage campaign has hired Schubert-Flint Public Affairs as its consultant. Yes, it's the same company that ran the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign in California last year.
Clearly, there are voters in Maine who are willing to take away the rights of our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, aunts and uncles, and our best friends.
But, I believe there are many, many more voters in this state -- known for its independent spirit -- who will reject discrimination and vote No on 1. The greatest challenge we face between now and November 3, is to reach each and every one of those voters. We've already made great headway.
The netroots, particularly the LGBT bloggers, have been a big help so far.
Everyone can help us Protect Maine Equality. We have an ActBlue page here. Anyone, regardless of whether you live in Maine or not, can sign the Pledge to Protect Marriage Equality. We expect a lot more money to pour into our opponents' efforts. Protecting Maine Equality does not carry nearly the price tag it did in California. I like to say we're a "cheap date state." Also, Maine is beautiful this time of year, if you want to spend time volunteering.
There's an old saying, "As Maine goes, so goes the nation." When Maine speaks loudly for equality on November 3rd, our voices will be heard around the nation.