Maine makes it 5/50

May 6, 2009 | By | 38 Replies More
Image: Seal of Maine (public domain)

Image: Seal of Maine (public domain)

I present without (much) comment the following from the governor of Maine, John E. Baldacci:

“I have followed closely the debate on this issue. I have listened to both sides, as they have presented their arguments during the public hearing and on the floor of the Maine Senate and the House of Representatives. I have read many of the notes and letters sent to my office, and I have weighed my decision carefully,” Governor Baldacci said. “I did not come to this decision lightly or in haste.”

“I appreciate the tone brought to this debate by both sides of the issue,” Governor Baldacci said. “This is an emotional issue that touches deeply many of our most important ideals and traditions. There

are good, earnest and honest people on both sides of the question.”

“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.”

Welcome to the inevitable progress of American society.

Cue wingnut outrage in 3, 2 …



Category: Civil Rights, Politics

About the Author ()

Hank was born of bird-watching bushwalking music-loving parents from whom he gained his love of nature, the universe & bicycles. Today he's a musician, non-profit aid worker, beagle keeper and fair & balanced internet commentator - but that just means he has a chip on each shoulder.

Comments (38)

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  1. Hank says:

    The Establishment Clause keeps State from interfering with religion, and keeps religion from interfering with the State. This ensures complete freedom for religious believers while also ensuring that the State functions in a way that benefits all, regardless of any particular belief. It's pretty clear and it's something I support wholeheartedly – people should be free to worship and pray to whoever they please, without interference or restriction from government.

    But it blows my mind that so many wishful thinkers from the religious extremists still think the Constitution explicitly endorses Christianity and also credit Christianity as its source. All you have to do is read the document; clearly some of our commentators have not done this and seem to feel secure in pasting the same trite arguments already made ad nauseam by ignorant people with vested interests (and invalidated ad infinitum by reasonable observant people, religious and non-religious alike). Don't these wannabe theocrats understand that any religious endorsement by the State can only hurt them in the long run? Interpretations of religious dogma change all the time; what if you woke up one Inauguration Day and the new President wasn't your brand of Christian? There is precedent; just remember King Henry VIII's split from the Vatican and his subsequent persecution of Catholics. Just bear in mind that's always a possibility when the State choose one faith over another.

    Quoth Karl: "Should the ideals of love be redefined into secular terms so that obvious selfishness is regarded as loving? (Is there someone that comes to mind?)"

    Has anyone from the equality movement ever mentioned redefining the ideals of love? Do you really think that's what would happen, intentionally or otherwise, were gay marriage allowed across the board? What exactly are the ideals of love, as you see them, anyway? How are these ideals governed or defined in any way by your particular brand of religion?

    – "Should the ideals of peace be redefined into secular terms so that obvious aggressors are regarded as peaceful? (Is there someone that comes to mind?)"

    Again, first provide the definition of "the ideals of peace" that your religion provides you.

    – "Should the ideals of joy be redefined into secular terms so that obvious malcontents are regarded as joyful? (Is there someone that comes to mind?)"

    And now, tell me exactly who you're thinking of when you pose that rhetorical question of yours. Then tell me what the fuck you're smoking.

    All anyone wants is for their gay neighbours, friends and family members to be able to marry the ONE they love. Noone's talking about any kind of "secular re-definition" of any human ideals (simply because those human ideals are universal and can and DO exist without religion). You and your fellow bigots seem to be making the mistake that atheist support for gay marriage is some kind of war on faith. It isn't. It's support for equality. It just so happens that the main opposition to this equality seems to be based in large part on religious intolerance and bigotry and of course we oppose intolerance and bigotry. However, even if this opposition were not based on religious intolerance we'd still oppose it purely because it's unreasonable and offensive. Regardless of religious or non-religious opposition, we would still support gay marriage because we believe it's a human right.

    You guys – Mormons, Christian fundamentalists of all stripes – dragged religion into this, remember. YOU did it. Just don't mistake our support for equality and our opposition to your ridiculous sexual paranoia for some kind of wholesale war on faith. We support freedom of religion because it's a human right; the same way we support gay marriage. But if you bigots continue to restrict human rights using your religion as justification, be aware whose side we're going take.

  2. Karl says:


    You chopped out the premise from which the other statements followed.

    "Just scrub the concepts of ideals or altruisms entirely and then we can settle for the reality of what others think of any attempt to have any specific ideals."

    People will make due with whatever level or understanding of an ideal that they are comfortable with. They chose lesser values and will call them the full fledged ideal or altruism so they don't have to be bothered with anyone else’s views on the matter.

    Anthropologically the heterosexual family unit was around before any other written documentation or legislation was on the books about how people ought to live their lives.

    Heterosexual marriage (in some form or another) whether you want to believe it or not, was around as an altruistic earmark of human society long before gays sought to redefine what a marriage should be. They don't fit the altruism so they would rather tear it down and remake its definition so that it fits their ideals, as noble as those ideals may sound to them and others as well.

    I assume you at least hold that love, peace, and joy are altruisms a good humanist and modern atheist would prefer all people to possess in ever increasing measures.

    Go back and reread the statements in context. There are some specific people who come to mind in these regards. I have specific participants here at DI in mind but will not use their names as that could be misreading their online personas here on DI, but what they have written I believe speaks volumes.

    I chose these individuals not because I dislike them or wish to highlight their attitudes, I describe them to make more clear the statements in my last comments.

    "Karl" holds that the expression of sexuality in some religious way brings heaven down to earth and somehow makes love into a matter of whoopee between two consenting adults. "Love" to Karl seems to be a experiential mystical uniting of two people with physical passions. This is why homosexual marriage is just fine from his perspective. To Karl, the physical reality of male and female is only a minor piece of the more significant experiences of mutual sexual passion.

    "Karl" is your basic aggressive in your face "peace is not peace until you see things my way" kind of guy. This is a basic A type personality that uses direct confrontation in an attempt to intimidate others into silence or at least to a position where he doesn't need to consider the ideals of others any longer or the implications of those ideals and altruisms. Karl uses his own interpretations of lessened altruisms to believe he can force peaceful resolutions through legal wrangling of a society's peace loving activists. As long as others aren't pushing their ideals and altruism, he can live with that. He tries to turn others into passive peaceful humans because the other person really is seeking peace whereas Karl is seeking anything but peace. Karl is seeking the destruction of ideals and altruisms because that gives anyone the right to do what ever they wish, except tell others what they ought to do in any altruistic sense that he doesn't agree with. Ironically, that is exactly was Karl does, he tells others what they ought to do and believe. While championing the causes of the social downcasts, Karl gives ever conceivable lifestyle hope that one day they too can be perfectly acceptable to a society with fewer and fewer ethical matters to have to deal with.

    As for the altruism of Joy, what more can be said for a person who prefers to be called "Karl" (the antithesis of joy) and who sees nothing of value in anything other than what He holds to be of value to himself? "Karl" makes it clear that those who have ideals not in line with his own and his more correct interpretations of Biblical myths is really just wasting his time. For those who believe misery loves company, nothing more needs to be said.

    You asked what I was driving at. I thought you might have caught on without my needing to use examples.

    I'll let you try to figure out who's who in Dangerous Intersection Lore.

  3. Karl says:

    You'll are absolutely right,

    Not a specific mentioning of the words Bible, Christ or any specific other aspect or a particular religion or "non-religion" as well in the Constitution or Bill of right. You need to go back to the declaration of Independence and the writings of founding fathers that are not actual parts of the constitution and Bill of rights to have any specific references to common religious terms and practices.

    Not a word about atheism, agnosticism or skepticism as well, but far to many people recognize these as a form of religion, even though there are those who claim they are not and never wish to be associated with any type of a religion.

    There is then the phrase, nor limit the practice thereof. In this phrase it is assumed all manner of preferred activities that would be included in the practice of one's religion, like reading the Bible, praying to a deity, doing works of charity etc…

    The Bible is included in that phrase "nor limit the practice thereof," because every religion has some characteristic principles upon which it is based.

    Even secular humanism has its "manifesto." If that isn't a religious document you need to have your head examined.

    This goes without necessary requirement for explanation that a political figure, or a judge or a school teacher has a right to practice the religion of their choice. They do not have a right to enact legislation or unduly sway public opinion, but they have a right to be religious according to the dictates of one's religion.

    Atheism, agnosticism and skepticism are of course not religions by those who try to avoid being told they need to stay out of governmental legislation.

  4. rich12019

    Others have no doubt said something like this, so it may be redundant.


    Historically, you are half right. The framers wanted to protect religious liberty. Many who originally came to the Colonies were fleeing religious tyranny.

    But. You need to broaden your historical perspective. They were fleeing a State Church that did not tolerate other practices. What the framers saw as fundamental was the separation of the state from the church, in order to protect both as well as the individual in his or her practice in good conscience of the personal choices concerning political well being and religious observance. Church and State ought have nothing to do with each other.

    As to where we get our laws, well, that is indeed a chicken-and-egg question. I'll put my money on the gradual growth of perceived understanding over time. What works, what doesn't. Humans learned. No big mystery. Some things work better than others in specific situations—that gives us ethics. Some things ought to be taken as given under all circumstances—that gives us morality. Some things are there just because a group chooses to do it that way—laws. We make our own laws. The evidence for that is overwhelming.

    I would not say you are confused—you have limited yourself to such a narrow set of parameters probably for the express purpose of avoiding confusion. But one need not be confused to be wrong.

  5. Mindy Carney says:

    Karl, so what if "heterosexual marriage" was around long before history became a documented entity? We all know that until the last few decades and the medical intervention developed in that time, heterosexual couplings were the only way to procreate. Duh. Not an argument, no need to throw that one up there any longer.

    I, for one, am glad we humans have grown and learned and changed over the centuries. I am glad that so many have come to understand that the narrow religious definition of marriage no longer supports the human race appropriately.

    Fight it all you want. Insist we are tearing down some archaic ideal, and I'll continue to insist that we are holding up the more important cultural ideal of equality for all citizens. You continue to make it about religion and sex, and I will continue to insist that it is about love and fair treatment under the law. You make the same circular arguments over and over – and it remains about your religion, which is not, on its own, an acceptable basis for law.

    You and I will never agree on this, that is obvious. I will continue to see you and all those who agree with you as bigots, and you will continue to see me as intolerant of your religion. Know, though, that even though I don't agree with your religion, I am intolerant only your wish to foist it onto the masses, but you won't see it that way. I don't give a rat's behind if you and your church continue to counsel against homosexuality, insist it can be "cured" and refuse to perform marriage ceremonies for gay couples. You have every right to believe and act that way, and I have every right to disagree and not ever enter or support such a church – but I don't have any right to campaign for its closure or insist that our laws take away your right to believe as you do.

    I am not in any way encouraging you or your ilk to give homosexuality a go, nor am I insisting that you tell your children or your students that you "believe" in it. I am insisting that you don't say anything about it at all to your students, and raise your own kids in your narrow world if you like. They'll figure it out eventually.

  6. Karl writes:—"Heterosexual marriage (in some form or another) whether you want to believe it or not, was around as an altruistic earmark of human society long before gays sought to redefine what a marriage should be."

    Should be. Ought to be. Was meant to be.


    You are making a broad assumption that homogeneity is the ideal. Family Units are whatever the circumstances of time and place required them to be. Other factors than some universal established format applied. So we have extended families, polygamous families, matriarchies, and patriarchies, and, yes, monogamous arrangements. Economics constrained variation, but that is hardly something to claim as a standard for one universal type.

    Even if, broadly speaking (and I'm not arguing with you about this) monogamy is generally preferred form, it is not the only one, nor is everyone suited to it. What happened to the notion that variation is a supportable idea within a larger group? So you have 70 to 80% of a population following a given format. So what if the balance vary all over the place? Why should, in this instance, absolute conformity be the preferred model when we have in most other areas evidence that some variation is good for the general health of the whole? Homogeneous communities are fragile in ways that communities which support variations in social structure are not.

    But this is beside the point, really. You are arguing a reductionist model of human behavior and claiming that this one format model of relationship is the only one capable of sustaining fulfilling life experiences, and that is simply bullshit.

    Now if everyone decided for whatever reason that they would stop having children, that would arguably be bad for humans. But how likely is that? Not very. In fact, it would be absurd to argue it as a viable possibility. And it would take more than a simple indulgence in lifestyle preference to alter a biological imperative that holds for the majority, regardless of social constraints.

    Apply your model of homogeneity to other things than marriage and see how silly it would look.

    Either you're arguing this way just to be a gadfly here (which is very cool imho) or you really do have a hangup about this.

  7. Stacy says:


    "Heterosexual marriage (in some form or another) whether you want to believe it or not, was around as an altruistic earmark of human society long before gays sought to redefine what a marriage should be."

    Marriage (heterosexual or otherwise) has never been particularly altruistic. Certainly concern for a partner's well-being is vital to any successful MODERN marriage (where we have expectations of equality between the partners), but basically people marry to further their own interests, as well as their partners' and society's. But do you think those guys in the bible were buying their wives and concubines purely out of unselfish concern for the women's wellbeing?

    And where do you get off saying that the "secular terms" for love, peace and joy are somehow the opposite of what those words actually stand for?

    I have news for you. Heterosexual marriage HAS been around for a long, long time. It predates monotheism. So, probably, do homosexual life-partnerships. So? None of this makes for an argument against gay marriage.

    Those vaunted biblical heterosexual marriages you erroneously think were the original models of modern marriage, were polygamous; the wives were "subject" to their husbands, and the husbands were allowed to sleep with their slaves. Somehow you keep forgetting these inconvenient little facts….

  8. Karl says:

    Most of the Old Testament descriptions of marriage were indeed distortions of the ideals of marriage because of selfish individuals and male dominated societies which only basically appeared to be about consent under the Law.

    The modern versions of marriage appear to be a bit more about both equality and consent. Although this might appear on the surface to be a step up from a male dominated society, it is nonetheless still a flawed image of the ideal relationships between the sexes when only one gender is considered as the basis for a marriage.

    Whenever anything is seen as a relationship that needs to be governed and regulated by legal codes it is in reality not a matter of love, but one of utilitarian values. What works for one spouse in the end may very well not be working at all for the significant other or the relationship would not need to end in divorce.

    If people really understood the foundations of love, peace, and joy, there would be no laws against these attitudes, behaviors and ideals that would stand up in a court of law.

  9. Karl says:

    Without any doubt Maine is headed back into the dark ages and the Neanderthals aren't all gone after.

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