CONTACT: David Farmer, (207) 557-5968
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 26, 2012
Mainers United Applauds Improved Ballot Question
PORTLAND – Secretary of State Charlie Summers today released the final wording of the ballot question for a citizen’s initiative that would allow same-sex couples to receive a marriage license while also protecting religious freedom.
The question’s wording now reads: “Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?”
The Secretary of State originally proposed: “Do you want to allow same-sex couples to marry?”
“We are pleased that the Secretary of State took into account our concerns and has changed the question to more accurately reflect the contents of the citizen’s initiative,” said Matt McTighe, campaign manager for Mainers United for Marriage. “The new question makes it clear that the proposed law is about civil marriage and that no church or religious institution can be sued for refusing to recognize or perform a marriage that goes against its beliefs.”
Proponents of the citizen’s initiative argued that the original question was incomplete and inaccurate because it did not include any reference to the additional religious exemption language that is included in the proposed statute Mainers will vote on this November.
A public poll earlier this month found that 57 percent of voters support allowing marriage licenses for same-sex couples. Only 35 percent said they were opposed
The religious exemption section of the citizen’s initiative reads:
Religious exemption. This chapter does not require any member of the clergy to perform or any church, religious denomination or other religious institution to host any marriage in violation of the religious beliefs of that member of the clergy, church, religious denomination or other religious institution. The refusal to perform or host a marriage under this subsection cannot be the basis for a lawsuit or liability and does not affect the tax-exempt status of the church, religious denomination or other religious institution.
A “Yes” vote on the citizen’s initiative in November will allow marriage licenses for loving, committed same-sex couples in Maine while also protecting religious freedom.
For more information about the campaign, visit www.mainersunited.org.