Tears, resolve for gay marriage fight in Maine
Posted on April 30, 2009
Filed Under Uncategorized
Southern York County was well represented Wednesday, April 22, among the proponents of a gay marriage bill who attended a public hearing at the Augusta Civic Center.
“It’s been incredibly moving,” said Kittery Point resident Lane Williamson, whose lesbian daughter was married in Massachusetts to her longtime partner. “There’s a huge pro-civil rights group here, from tiny babies to grandparents.”
Williamson, who also has a heterosexual married daughter, said she has long fought for women’s and civil rights.
“Marriage is a civil right and therefore each of my daughters has a right to be married,” she said. “If Vermont can do it (pass a gay marriage law) and Iowa can do it, for goodness sake, then Maine had better. I’m quite certain that the bill will pass.”
She and others in attendance at the hearing talked of seeing a “sea of red” among those in the audience — as the pro-bill organization Equality Maine asked proponents to wear red clothing. Of the estimated 4,000 to 5,000 in attendance, they said, it appeared from the clothing that about two-thirds of those attending favored the bill.
That was particularly gratifying for Mary Breen, who lives with her partner in South Berwick and owns a business in Ogunquit, as well as Marsha Clegg of Wells, who has been in a committed relationship with her partner for 14 years.
Breen said she was in Augusta because, “I feel if I don’t stand up for my civil rights, why should anyone else? There’s strength in numbers and I would feel badly if I wasn’t there to be counted.” She said she and her partner of almost four years “want to be married, but we want to be married in Maine, because that’s our home. We’re not asking anyone to change their religion. We just want a level playing field.”
Like others who attended, she said both sides had been very respectful and there had not been any violence or rowdiness. She said she has had to suck it up when hearing opponents call homosexuals “wrong and perverse” and using the Bible to make the point. But on the other hand, “it’s been very encouraging and empowering to hear people who are supportive. It makes all of us feel stronger.”
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