The news early yesterday that voters decided not to allow gay marriage was hard to swallow. After all, it's been a great year for gay marriage with it coming to Iowa (through a court case) and Vermont and New Hampshire (through legislation). It almost felt like it was a given.
The thousands of volunteers who went door to door and called strangers throughout the state to ask for their support of gay marriage, should be applauded. It's hard work, getting out the vote, trying to be persuasive in 15 seconds before they hang up the phone or slam the door. I didn't go up there and I didn't volunteer. I feel absolutely horribly guilty about this.
Maine is a wonderful place and someday will be an excellent destination for gay weddings. It's coastline and mountains provide unparalleled scenery. Its people are kind in the New England way of being kind. And 47% of those people said YES to gay marriage, more than ever before. That's progress.
Most people I've spoken to have had a strange week. Maybe it was the full moon on Monday but things have been slightly off. I do think, though, that we have reason to be optimistic. Washington State voters approved a comprehensive domestic partners act. And although New Jersey voters voted out Gov. Corzine, he has indicated that he'd sign a gay marriage bill before he leaves office and his anti-gay marriage successor takes over. That means that, fingers crossed, New Jersey could be next.
In the big picture, this defeat in Maine is just a small setback. In fact, a Washington Post/ABC poll from earlier this year, indicated that more people supported gay marriage than opposed it. I know it seems surprising given the will of the voters in California a year ago and Maine this year, but we must keep the good fight.
I will keep planning legal gay weddings in the places I can plan them, and those guests whose hearts and minds were changed will tell their neighbors how beautiful it was. Those neighbors will tell their friends and someone else's gay son will get married and it'll be another beautiful day and more walls of resistance will crumble. That's the way it works and that's why I do what I do.
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