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What Thomas Jefferson Would Think of Maine Voting on Other People's Rights

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Maine gay marriage proposal

There is only one thing worse than voting to deny somebody their rights: Voting to give it to them.

Sometimes I wonder how the framers of the Constitution would react to Maine's vote this Tuesday on whether gay people should keep their right to marry.

I'm pretty sure Jefferson would weep.

And the others would share his hankie. For this must be the founding father's nightmare: Seeing one group of Americans go into the voting booth to take away the rights of another.

This Tuesday, Maine citizens will vote on whether gay people should retain the right to marry as per a state law that currently allows them to do so. The last poll shows that people who want to take away that right are winning 51-47. That's still within the margin of error, but at this point it doesn't look good. The fat lady ain't sung, but she's clearing her voice.

Frankly, I don't know which would be worse--voting to repeal or uphold the state law allowing gay marriage. No matter which way you vote, you've wiped your feet on the Constitution.

There is only one thing worse than voting to deny somebody their rights: Voting to give it to them. Because the very idea that you have the power to grant or deny somebody the rights you enjoy negates the ideal of the Constitution--that all men are created equal. (Women, too, but let's not quibble).

How can I be equal to you if you get to vote on my relationship? How can you be equal to me if I have the power to set the government against you? No matter what side you're on, no matter what the result of the final tally, voting is the enemy of equality.

As Maine voters hover in the voting booth reading the Proposal that will affect the lives of millions of their fellow citizens, I wonder if it will occur to any of them to think: "I shouldn't have the right to vote on somebody else's rights."

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