Republican group joins campaign for the Freedom to Marry in Maine

July 23rd, 2012 · Filed under: Capitol news, Civil Rights, Community Maine · No Comments

Mainers United for Marriage and the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine today introduced a new partner, Republicans United for Marriage, in the campaign to win the freedom to marry.

“Allowing all loving, committed couples to marry isn’t about political parties. Across Maine, Republicans, Democrats and Independents are working together to support the freedom to marry,” said Matt McTighe, campaign manager for Mainers United for Marriage. “Our campaign is about talking to one another, building bridges and finding common ground. We’re proud to welcome Republicans United for Marriage to our campaign.”

Recent polling shows broad support for allowing same-sex couples to receive a marriage license. And through more than 112,000 one-on-one conversations, Maine voters are telling the campaign that they are changing their minds.

“I voted against same-sex marriage in 2009, but I changed my mind,” said Rep. Stacey Fitts, a Pittsfield Republican. “I know some gay people and I’ve talked with them and with my family, and I’ve thought about it a lot. As a husband and a father, I’ve come to believe that two people who love each other should have the freedom to get married.”

Speakers made the case that support for the freedom to marry shouldn’t be a partisan issue.

“Same-sex marriage should not be a divisive partisan issue, and that’s why I’m here today to help launch Republicans United for Marriage,” said Rep. Meredith Strang Burgess, a Cumberland Republican. “This is about the fundamental right to marry the person you love, without the government getting in the way.”

They also drew on their own relationships as inspiration. For Dan Demeritt, Republican consultant and former director of communications for Gov. Paul LePage, it was his relationship with his wife that helped him through good times and bad that convinced him to support the campaign.

“Through it all, every day, I came home to my wife, who I knew would be there for me to listen to my troubles and celebrate the successes. To share in the joy and the pain. And, when things were toughest, to bring me comfort,” Demeritt said. “I support the freedom to marry because I want every person to have a chance at that kind of relationship, to be able to share the joys and obligations, and to help shoulder the troubles of life that we all face.”

“As a Republican, I believe government should not interfere with the right of same-sex couples to marry. Every loving, committed couple in our state should have the right to a civil marriage. And every church should be free to decide which marriages to sanctify. The law we will vote on in November allows same-sex couples to marry under the law and protects churches and clergy to act in accordance with their beliefs,” said Clare Payne, an attorney from Holden.

Gwen Tuttle of Portland is running for the Maine House of Representatives.

“I support expansion of existing laws to be more inclusive, allowing for all Maine citizens to marry, regardless of sexual orientation. I do not believe in discrimination or impeding on the personal liberties of any Maine citizen,” Tuttle said.

In addition to the speakers at the event other prominent Republicans on hand to help launch Republicans United for Marriage included: Amy Abbott, Portland; Greg Boulos, Cape Elizabeth; Brenda Garrand, Portland; Jim Nicholson, Waterville; Ted O’Meara, South Portland; Rep. Dave Richardson, Carmel; James Shaffer, Cape Elizabeth; Gordon Smith, Winthrop; Betsy Tipper, Smithfield; and Karl Turner, Cumberland.

Mainers United for Marriage is the coalition to win marriage for all Maine families. A “Yes” vote in November will allow marriage licenses for loving, committed same-sex couples in Maine while also protecting religious freedom.

For more information about the campaign, visit www.mainersunited.org.

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