Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Marriage Equality Comes to Maine!

Hooray! Here's the release from national Stonewall Democrats:

Washington, DC - Today, the Stonewall Democrats released the following statement in response to the signing of marriage legislation in Maine:

"Stonewall Democrats loudly applauds Democratic Governor John Baldacci for signing into law legislation that extends the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. Local advocates and Democratic leaders built the support necessary to pass this bill and we congratulate them. This legislation will provide economic and legal security for families in Maine.

It is now time for New Hampshire Democratic Governor John Lynch to follow the example of his neighboring state and sign the final version of marriage legislation once it reaches his desk. Stonewall Democrats worked with local advocates in Maine and New Hampshire to add support for the freedom to marry in the platforms of the Democratic Parties of those states. Democratic support proved to be a crucial component in the broad coalition of advocates who are moving marriage equality forward in Maine and New Hampshire."

- Jon Hoadley, Executive Director, Stonewall Democrats

Earlier today, Democratic Governor John Baldacci signed LD 1020, "An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom." The Act had been sent to his desk after it received passage from the Democratically controlled Maine Senate and then the Democratically controlled Maine House of Representatives.

“In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions,” Governor Baldacci said. “I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.”

Last month in neighboring New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Senate voted to approve legislation allowing same-sex couples the freedom to marry. Similar legislation legislation had already been approved by the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Upon reconciliation, the bill will go before Democratic Governor John Lynch who has not yet indicated how he will act on the bill.

Stonewall Democrats continue to build support for the freedom to marry in addition to working on broader pro-equality issues. In Wyoming, the organization worked with the newly-forming Wyoming Stonewall Democrats earlier this year to help Democrats stop an anti0marriage ballot initiative introduced in the state legislature. In Massachusetts, the Bay State Stonewall Democrats played a key role in building Democratic support for marriage legislation enacted in 2004. Last month, two Stonewall Democrats - Kate and Trish Varnum - won a landmark decision by the Iowa Supreme Court (Varnum V. Brien) that recognized the rights of all Iowans to Marry. Stonewall Democrats is continuing its work in Iowa by aiding statewide advocates liek One Iowa to build support for the Democratic Leadership of the Iowa House and Senate who continue to stand against an onslaught of special-interest attacks from the far right. And last month in Vermont, Stonewall Democrats initiated a campaign that contributed to three Democratic lawmakers switching their previously anti-marriage votes in order to override a gubernatorial veto and enact marriage legislation in that state.

With more than 120 local chapters the Stonewall Democrats is the national organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and allied Democrats. Stonewall Democrats works to elect pro-equality Democrats to public office and improve the Democratic Party on issues important to pro-equality Americans.



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