New Yes on 1 video exposes marriage opponents’ lies in Maine
October 24, 2012
Mainers United for Marriage, the coalition working to proactively pass the freedom to marry at the ballot in Maine, released a new advertisement that explains that ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in Maine would in no way lead to more discrimination lawsuits in the state. The ad features Amy Wilton, a wedding photographer from Hope, ME talking about why she's voting Yes on Question 1 on November 6. She says:
I'm a photographer, and I photograph weddings and portraits. As a Christian, my faith is really important to me, and it' s taught me not to judge. I've been married for 13 years to my husband Neil and we have two delightful children. When people say that same-sex marriage is going to mean lawsuits against businesses like mine, they don't understand that discrimination is already illegal. In New Hampshire where same-sex marriage has already been legal for years, there's been no increase in the number of related lawsuits. But one thing it will do, is give me more weddings to shoot. And in this economy, that is great news.
The video comes as a response to a series of videos from opponents of the freedom to marry, who have been using television advertisements to further myths about how the freedom to marry would impact people in Maine. A recent video from "Protect Marriage Maine," the group working against the Yes on 1 campaign, tries to promote fear in Maine voters by misstating the circumstances of a lawsuit involving the Wildflower Inn in Vermont. The ad features the owners of the inn, who claim they were sued by a lesbian couple for "not supporting their gay wedding because of our Christian beliefs."
The case in question, however, involved Vermont's non-discrimination laws - not the law's marriage law, which affords same-sex couples the freedom to marry. A press release from Mainers United's "Fact Check" team better explains the distortions in the Protect Marriage Maine ad:
Here are the details from the Baltimore Sun [which investigated the case]: In 2011, a lesbian couple tried to book the Wildflower Inn for their wedding reception, but an employee informed them that the venue did not host gay receptions due to the innkeepers' "personal feelings." The couple sued under Vermont's public accommodations law, which prohibits hotels, restaurants and other such businesses from discriminating based on sexual orientation, race and other factors. The O'Reillys settled out of court, and their attorney later said that the employee had acted without the owners' permission and had misstated the inn's policy, which was to host gay receptions but to disclose the O'Reillys' views to potential guests.
"Maine voters affirmed our state's anti-discrimination laws in 2005 by popular vote. Our opponents are trying to scare voters into thinking there will be ‘consequences' or ‘collateral damage' if loving, committed couples are allowed to marry. It's just not true," said Matt McTighe, campaign manager for Mainers United for Marriage. "The case in Vermont was about a business failing to follow the law."
Extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in Maine would not change any rules about claims of discrimination. Those anti-discrimination laws have already been decided, and even upheld by the state's voters. The lies and scare tactics in the Protect Marriage Maine's videos must be exposed so that Mainers are not tricked into voting against fairness for all families.