• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Maine Remembers Marriage

    Yesterday in a victory that was not as close as the final pre-election polls had suggested, voters in Maine adopted a “people’s veto” to protect the traditional definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The margin was 53-47. The voting was closely watched for several reasons, as each of the other 30 states that have held popular votes on marriage redefinition has seen popular majorities approve the traditional understanding. Even more important, had proponents of same-sex marriage prevailed in Maine, it would have marked the first time that the public would have ratified a prior state legislative decision on this issue.

    Supporters of traditional marriage prevailed despite being heavily outspent in the months-long campaign that led up to the vote. The issue was placed on yesterday’s ballot when a citizens’ petition drive succeeded this past summer, allowing the state’s voters an opportunity to block the same-sex marriage measure adopted by votes of 21-14 (Maine Senate) and 89-57 (Maine House) last May. The difference between the legislative margin for same-sex marriage and the popular vote against it continues to be a feature of the debate. To date, in the 30 states that have preserved traditional marriage at the ballot box, the cumulative popular vote margin has been 37,974,138 (63.6%) to 21,743,826 (36.4%). Legislative bodies in some states continue to be out of sync with the public mind on the issue.

    Maine thus becomes the first New England state to hold a referendum on marriage. Earlier this year, the legislatures of Vermont, Connecticut, and New Hampshire (the first two acting at least to some degree under the influence of court rulings) joined Massachusetts in adopting same-sex marriage laws. None of those four states has a process similar to Maine’s “people’s veto,” which permits rapid voter response to a legislative enactment. The impact of the Maine vote on its New England neighbors, and the nationwide debate over same-sex marriage, remains to be seen.

    Meanwhile, traditional marriage was also a feature of the political contest for governor of New Jersey, where incumbent Jon Corzine was upset yesterday by Chris Christie. Speculation has been rampant that, had Corzine prevailed, the New Jersey legislature might well have adopted same-sex marriage in its own lame-duck session before the end of this year. Corzine campaigned on his support for redefining marriage, and Christie campaigned on preserving the traditional understanding. This morning’s New York Times reports that all bets are off on the issue due to Christie’s victory.

    In 1788 Alexander Hamilton spoke in New York for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution with the argument, “Here, sir, the people govern; here they act by their immediate representatives.” For the moment, it appears that the people and some of their immediate representatives have a difference of mind about redefining marriage.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Maine Remembers Marriage

    1. Freedom of Speech, T says:

      Since when did the majority's opinion matter?

      I could care less what two people of the same sex do. But, don't call it "Marriage". Traditionalists and conservatives already get pushed around by the ACLU, NOW, and a hundred other left leaning organizations that consider a simple prayer to God or, indeed, the name God on a button, "inappropriate" and "offensive".

      The fact that these people are protected by civil and criminal law (as well they should be like any other American) is enough.

    2. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      Traditional marriage follows the precept of Holy Matrimony. Christians believe love has many faces. But love between a man and a woman for purposes of a blessed union defines marriage. The so called progressive movement considers such mores as being discriminatory. For this reason, they attempt to sterilize society by making all things equal. Where does it end. Most monotheistic cultures would view same sex couples as an abomination. I bet Historians could share numerous examples of how great societies collapsed when they allowed their religious and/or social character to be erased.

    3. O.B. Bell, Navarre, says:

      a “people’s veto” I do like that!

      Never heard of that before. Wonder how Florida could get that?

    4. Martin Pal, Los Ange says:

      If you guys really knew what you were talking about you would know that there has never been anything traditional about marriage. In fact, religion has played a small part in most marriage contracts. Children grow up in families that teach them to want to be married someday. Gay children come from these families, as I did. Then at some point our families are supposed to tell us we should not want to get married because you are different? And really, relatively speaking, since so few people grow up to be gay, why are you so afraid of gay people, because that's what it comes down to? You are simply afraid. And you take that fear and hurt people by your ballot box rejections. I am one of those people you hurt. And it doesn't stop hurting the day after an election. It is EVERY DAY after that, that your fear hurts me and the gay people of Texas and Navarre, FL.

      By the way, the people's veto of Maine can be over-ridden by the Maine legislature if they take it up again in their next meeting. If they had the courage of their convictions like they did the first time, they'd do it. Fifteen years ago referendums like this were split by 10-20 points. Fifteen years later they're nearly tied. Fifteen years from now they'll be 10-20 points in the opposite split. Watch the new tv series Modern Family. There's the future of your fears and really, what is so frightening about it? A new day is dawning, but you guys refuse to get out of bed.

    5. Freedom of Speech TX says:

      A new day is dawning?

      Homosexuality has been around, probably, since the beginning of time.

      You are correct. There is a relative few gays out of the total global population.

      You are wrong. Marriage is traditional because it is between a man and woman. The reason is simple. It is for procreation and survival of the family unit.

      Societies throughout history have "mostly" recognized this.

      I have no quarrel against what human sexuality a person practices. That is their choice.

      My point is it is NOT marriage as defined by MOST societies for the reasons above. Call it whatever you want.

      One of my relatives is "gay". That is his business and NO, I have not shunned him.

    6. Martin Pal, Los Ange says:

      By saying "I have a relative who is gay. That is his business"

      IS shunning him, but I guess you don't get that.

      The "marriage is for procreation" argument is so tired,

      because if that were conditionally true, there are many people

      who'd not be allowed to marry. Yet they are. And when you

      talk about family units, gay people ARE family units, but you

      discount those units.

      Saying marriage is traditional because it's between a man a woman

      is as inane as saying marriage is traditional because your parents

      arrange whom you are to marry.

      The more you say you believe marriage is only between a

      man and a woman the more I believe it is because you think

      that gay people being married are worth less than you are

      and that you will just not accept that. And you have said as

      much to one of your own relatives.

      Convicted murderers can be married in prison because

      it is considered "cruel and unusual punishment" not to let

      them. So don't talk to me about cruel and unusual punishment.

      You may believe you are right, but your idea of right is hurting

      alot of people. I do not thank you for that pain I live with every

      day.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×