The Maine House of Representatives voted 89 to 58 to pass the Senate's marriage equality bill today with some minor changes (requiring it to go back to the Senate for re-approval). Democratic Governor John Baldacci is as yet uncommitted on the vote, but we can only hope for the best.
Of course, the Maine Family Policy Council is up in arms demanding a People's Vote -- something only enacted 27 times since 1910 -- on the issue. Let me just make sure I get this right: it comes from the executive (Gavin Newsom/New Paltz/etc.), it's bad; it comes from the judiciary (Connecticut/Iowa/Massachusetts), it's bad; it comes from the legislature (Vermont/Maine), it's bad. So the only people that can truly, ultimately decide what's best for an oppressed minority is [drum roll please] the oppressing majority?
Yea, that makes a lot of sense.
Meanwhile, a little south in Washington DC, the City Council once again passed a law that would recognize out-of-state unions in a 12-to-1 vote. It pissed enough people off that a group of ministers stormed the Council halls and threatened to blacklist those who voted for it -- they had to be removed by the police. What would be really disappointing is if they went on this all-out campaign to de-seat these 12 individuals... and then they all won their seats back. Councilmember David Cantania (I-At Large) plans to introduce a marriage equality bill later this year.
Who, might you ask, is the one dissenting vote? Former Mayor Marion Barry who, you might remember, was caught red handed with smoking a crack pipe in the late 1990s ... while in office. Mr. Barry mimicks Texas Governor Rick Perry in his comments:
All hell is going to break lose. We may have a civil war. The black community is just adamant against this. What you've got to understand is 98 percent of my constituents are black and we don't have but a handful of openly gay residents. Secondly, at least 70 percent of those who express themselves to me about this are opposed to anything dealing with this issue. The ministers think it is a sin, and I have to be sensitive to that.Mr. Barry, uh... I don't think you are that sensitive to your constituency -- which is mostly black -- if you're threatening civil war. Also: if you don't have that many "openly gay residents" (which is a lie... DC is hugely gay), then does it matter that much to expend all of your political capital on? And please remember, the last time they voted on this... it was a unanimous vote
Anyways... fun day!
Oh, and tomorrow should be fun, too... New Hampshire's bill is back in the House, where the House -- which voted for marriage equality with a slim 186-179 after an early 182-183 loss -- is being asked to concur with the Senate (vote for equality: 13-11) on a few amendments. Then, the bill will go on to uncommitted Republican Governor John Lynch.