Narrow Defeat in Maine Won’t Stop Fight for the Freedom to Marry

11/4/2009

Narrow Defeat in Maine Won’t Stop Fight for the Freedom to Marry

Work Continues in Maine as Other States Advance, Voters Likely Protecting Domestic Partnerships in Washington


For Immediate Release:
November 4, 2009

PRESS CONTACT:
Evan Wolfson
Executive Director, Freedom to Marry
212-851-8418
Mobile: 646-263-5552
evan@freedomtomarry.org

New York, November 4, 2009 —Despite a strong grassroots effort in Maine, an attack campaign by anti-gay forces just barely overturned Maine’s law supporting the freedom to marry for gay couples.  Results are still coming in for Washington state where voters are likely to affirm domestic partnerships.  As Washington state continues its conversation about the inequalities gay couples and their families face, the fight will continue for the freedom to marry in Maine, and across the country, as wins in three other states just this year along with growing national support for the freedom to marry clearly show momentum is on the side of fairness and equality.

"The recipe for ending injustice is: Give people the information they need over time, and stir their hearts.  We will work harder, and learn better to dispel the distractions and fears that are keeping a smaller and smaller slice of Americans from treating others fairly,” said Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry and author of Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality and Gay People's Right to Marry.  “Each conversation, each day, each story, each win will bring America closer to equality in marriage.”

People from all walks of life -- faith leaders, labor unions, teachers, civil rights leaders and communities of color, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, public officials, local school boards and city councils, moms and dads, and businesses -- joined together with national, state and local LGBT organizations and individuals from around the country to work for the defeat of these discriminatory referenda.

In addition to the thousands of volunteers and hundreds of organizations that joined the fight for the freedom to marry, political leaders from Maine to Washington and across the United States such as President Barack Obama, Maine Governor John Baldacci, and Washington Governor Chris Gregoire, spoke out against these discriminatory measures.

“My heart goes out today to the couples in Maine, who will have to wait a little longer to marry those they love and receive the protections their commitment deserves,” said Wolfson.  “The campaigns in both Maine and Washington worked hard and families across each state stood up and told their stories in order to change hearts and minds.”

Freedom to Marry honors the leadership of the No on 1/Protect Maine Equality and Washington Families Standing Together campaigns, along with supporting organizations Equality Maine, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, the Maine chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, and Equal Rights Washington.

While work continues in Maine and Washington, focus shifts to New York, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia where bills are currently being considered to end the exclusion of gay couples from marriage.

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Freedom to Marry is the gay and non-gay partnership working to win marriage equality nationwide. Launched in 2003, Freedom to Marry is headed by Evan Wolfson, nationally recognized as a central "architect of the marriage equality movement." Freedom to Marry guides and focuses this social justice movement on a nationwide level, serving as a strategy and support center for national, state, and local partners, a catalyst that drives and shapes the national debate on marriage equality, and an alliance-builder fostering support from non-gay allies.