4.23.2009

The coverage

From the local news source:
An estimated 3,000 people came to the main auditorium at the Augusta Civic Center for a legislative public hearing on L.D. 1020, which would allow same-sex marriage in Maine. Members of the Judiciary Committee spent more than 10 hours listening to testimony from people on both sides of the issue.

[snip]

Dr. Daniel Summers, an Augusta pediatrician who spoke on behalf of the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said quality parenting is the most important factor in raising healthy children.

"Those who claim that children need a biologically related mother and a father to flourish are either ignorant of the scientific literature or are misrepresenting it," he said.

I am, of course, deeply biased as far as this issue is concerned. But, if one is interested in the arguments based on their merits, there was no comparison between the two sides at the hearing yesterday. Proponents made their case based on legal, social, medical, psychological and theological grounds. Opponents appealed to biblical literalism and fear. There were, in the vast number of testimonies, a couple of relatively comprehensible arguments about limiting government intrusion into the sphere of the family and social stability, but they were lost in the wave upon wave of virulent, incoherent and rambling vitriol. (Nobody seemed to note the irony of all the people that stated definitively that they didn't hate gay people, who then went on to say that we are incapable of loving, stable, sacred or healthy relationships. Can you imagine how it would have sounded if, you know, they hated us?) All prejudice on the issue aside, us gay marriage types made a much stronger case. And it was wonderful beyond words to get support from the Speaker of the Maine House, Maine's attorney general, as well as from my own wonderful bishop.

The video on this page can give a small sense of how it felt to be there, if only in the large mass of red-shirted (pro-marriage equality) people in the risers behind the speakers. My rough estimate of the crowd is that it was 60% pro, 40% con.

The only negative reaction I have thus gotten came from one guy who demanded to know if I can prove I was speaking on the Maine AAP's behalf, (in a word -- yes.) and another woman who wanted to know essentially the same thing who said that there would be a "challenge" to what I said. Doubtless meant to be intimidating, which it kind of transiently was, but almost certainly signifying nothing.

So, now we wait for the vote. I think most of the committee members went into the hearing with the minds already made up (probably from political considerations above all else), but if there were any undecided then I feel good about the case we made.

Confidential to John: The weirdo from the "Christian Polygamy" movement didn't do your cause any favors.

Update: Better video here.

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