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And Then There Were Four – GOP Senator Collins Supports Marriage Equality

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Maine Senator Susan CollinsWith the addition of Susan Collins, four US GOP Senators now support marriage equality.

Think Progress reports:

Susan Collins became the fourth Republican senator to support marriage equality on Wednesday, announcing her position in a questionnaire from Maine’s Bangor Daily News. “A number of states, including my home state of Maine, have now legalized same-sex marriage, and I agree with that decision,” Collins wrote. Voters in Maine outlawed same-sex marriage in 2009, but legalized it in 2012.

The other three are Rob Portman (OH), Mark Kirk (IL) and Lisa Murkowski (AK).

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Maine Issues Record Fine to National Organization for Marriage for Election Law Abuses

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

NOM LogoAn ethics panel in Maine voted unanimously to fine the National Organization for Marriage for hiding its donors in the marriage equality fight of 2009.

Edge Boston reports:

Maine’s ethics panel on Wednesday fined a national anti-gay marriage group more than $50,000 and ordered it to file a campaign finance report that would reveal the donors behind the 2009 repeal of the state’s gay marriage law after finding that it violating Maine’s campaign finance laws. The panel ruled that the National Organization for Marriage failed to properly register as a ballot question committee and file campaign finance reports in the referendum that struck down same-sex marriage before it was legalized by voters in 2012. The decision could force the group to eventually disclose the names of its donors, which it has long sought to keep secret. But a lawyer for the National Organization for Marriage said it intends to appeal the decision in state court, and members of the Maine Ethics Commission said they expect litigation to continue for at least a year.

It’s a great step, but NOM has proven in the past that they never accept these decisions. In fact, they’re now throwing mud at HRC in Maine, hoping to muddy the waters in the case. And boy, do these guys know how to throw mud.

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Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Williams Pond Lodge B&B, Bucksport, Maine

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Williams Pond Lodge B&B - Bucksport, MainePeriodically we’ll feature one of our vendors here to let our readers know about some great people who can help you plan the perfect wedding.

Gay Wedding Honeymoon Lodging in Bucksport, ME, USA. Providing the perfectly romantic natural setting for your honeymoon in the beautiful woods of Downeast Maine! Love each other and love the Earth; plan your green ecotourism honeymoon in downeast Maine — New England’s favorite getaway in the heart of Vacationland. We guarantee peaceful privacy; we have just three charming guestrooms in our off-grid solar powered lodge which is tucked-up close to the shore of pristine Williams Pond in rural Bucksport, Maine.

See the Williams Pond Lodge B&B Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in Maine

USA, Maine: Legislature Shoots Down “Right to Discriminate” Bill

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Maine MapAnother state has abandoned an effort to enshrine discrimination against same sex couples in its laws.

Dot429 reports:

On February 20 the Maine House rejected a Republican-sponsored bill that would have allowed anti-gay discrimination in the state under the claim of remaining sincere to one’s religious beliefs. Instead, the proposed bill reached its end (at least for now) with a count of 89-52.

The proposed legislation, LD1428, “would carve out an exception for religious beliefs in the state’s non-discrimination laws, such as the Maine’s Human Rights Act,” said Maine’s Speaker of the House, Mark Eves, in a published statement. Eves added that it “would undercut human rights protections and women’s rights by creating a loophole in the state’s strong non-discrimination laws.” The House’s denial of the bill follows a week behind a similar decision in the Senate.

So that’s Idaho, Kansas, Maine, South Dakota, and Tennessee all shot down. Only Arizona seems to be pressing ahead at this time. And of course, they’re trying to get something similar on the ballot in Oregon.

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USA, Maine: Victory in Court for Transgender Students

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Kelly_Nicole_Jonas_and_Wayne_Maines_insert_courtesy_GLAD

Photo courtesy of GLAD

Maine’s Supreme Court handed transgender students in the state a big victory yesterday.

The Washington Blade reports:

Maine’s highest state court ruled on Thursday that schools within the state must permit transgender students to use communal bathrooms in accordance with their gender identity. In a 5-1 decision, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled in the case of Doe v. Clenchy that Regional School Unit 26 violated the Maine’s Human Rights Act by denying Nicole Maines, a transgender girl, access to the girl’s restroom. It’s the first time a state court has ruled that trans students must be allowed to use a bathroom consistent with their gender identity.

It’s about time. Kudos to these kids for having the guts to stand up for themselves and fight for this.

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Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Greenville Inn, Greenville, Maine

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Greenville Inn - Greenville, MainePeriodically we’ll feature one of our vendors here to let our readers know about some great people who can help you plan the perfect wedding.

Gay Wedding Honeymoon Lodging in Greenville, ME, USA. Magnificent lumber baron’s mansion overlooking Moosehead Lake and Moose Mountain Range, offering upscale & ultra private suites, cottages and historic inn rooms for the perfect honeymoon. Seasonal and honeymoon packages available.

See the Greenville Inn Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in Maine

USA, Maine: More Than 1500 Same Sex Couples Married in First Year

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Maine MapMaine saw a bunch of gay and lesbian weddings in the first year of full marriage equality.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Steven Bridges and Michael Snell thought they knew what they were getting into a year ago when they went to City Hall to get married. But they didn’t realize that they were about to become instant celebrities.

Joining Snell’s daughters as witnesses were several dozen news reporters and photographers as they became the first same-sex couple to get married shortly after midnight on Dec. 29 at Portland City Hall. Photos of their wedding in the clerk’s office made their way from Maine to California. “We thought it was truly going to be a low-key night with Michael’s daughters,” Bridges said. “It didn’t turn out that way.”

More than 1,500 same-sex couples followed them in the year since it became legal for gay couples to wed in Maine, which along with Maryland and Washington states became the first to approve gay marriage by popular vote on Nov. 6, 2012.

It will be interesting to see in all these recent states how many couples marry each year once things settle down to normal.

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USA, Maine: 87% Of Voters Say Marriage Equality Has Had No Impact on Their Lives

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

titleContrary to the scare tactics often used by opponents of marriage equality, the actual experience of people living in states that have it is very mundane.

On Top Magazine reports:

A year after Maine legalized gay marriage, 87 percent of Maine voters say it has had either a positive or no impact on their lives. According to a Public Policy Polling survey of 964 registered Maine voters released on Wednesday, 72 percent of respondents said that the legalization of same-sex marriage in Maine has had no impact at all on their lives, 15 percent said it has had a positive impact, and 13 percent said it has had a negative impact. A majority (54%) of respondents agreed that gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry, while 37 percent remain opposed.

But what’s also amazing to me is that 33% of those people who say marriage equality has had actually no impact on them are still opposed to it. Why do they care? And what’s it going to take to convince them that allowing same-sex couples to marry will not hurt them in the least?

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USA, Maine: “Poppy” Bush Witnesses Same-Sex Wedding

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Photo Courtesy of Helen Thorgalsen and Bonnie Clement

Photo Courtesy of Helen Thorgalsen and Bonnie Clement

The first President Bush witnessed a same-sex wedding in Maine this last weekend.

Pink News reports:

Former President George H Bush and his wife, Barbara, have served as two of the official witnesses at a same-sex marriage ceremony of two long standing friends. The weekend wedding of Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen took place in Maine. Ms Clement told the Washington Post: “This is such a wonderful time for change in our legal system. Who would be best to help us acknowledge the importance of our wedding as our friends and as the former leader of the free world. When they agreed to do so we just felt that it was the next acknowledgment of being ‘real and normal’.”

So now we’ve got the really old Republicans and the really young ones on our side – how do we get everyone in the middle?

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USA, Maine: Marriage Equality Had No Impact On Voters’ Lives – New Poll

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

titleA new poll shows increased support for marriage equality in Maine 10 months after voters approved it.

State reports:

A new poll indicates that Mainers’ acceptance of same-sex marriage has increased significantly since the November vote, but an opponent cautions against making too much of numbers from Raleigh, N.C.-based Public Policy Polling. In November, with just 47 percent of voters opposing the referendum to legalize gay marriage, the law was passed at the polls. The Public Policy Polling poll — released in late August — shows that opposition to gay marriage has declined to 38 percent since then.

From the survey:

80% of respondents said the legalization of same-sex marriage has had a positive or no impact on their lives so far. 32% of people who described their race as “other” and 29% of 18-29-year-olds said same-sex marriage has negatively impacted them.

Just as we’ve always said.

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