Thursday, May 7, 2009

Maine right-wingers plan effort to repeal marriage. Will the Mormons pay for their campaign, too?

(By Joe Sudbay of AmericaBlog)

The right-wingers are gearing up to try to repeal Maine's new same-sex marriage law:
Conservatives, led by the Maine Family Policy Council, have vowed to get the measure on the ballot. “Five citizens can take out a petition, and if they gather 60,000 signatures in 90 days, then there is automatically a statewide vote,” Michael Heath, the group’s director, told the conservative website OneNewsNow May 5. “And if the vote goes in favor of the veto, then the law is repealed."
And, as we learned yesterday, the Maine Family Policy Council is an off-shoot of the Family Research Council. Their allies in the anti-gay effort is Maine's Catholic Church:
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland will be among the groups lobbying Mr. Baldacci, a Catholic, to veto the bill, as will the Maine Family Policy Council, an affiliate of the Family Research Council in Washington. “We’re going to be on his case,” said Marc R. Mutty, director of public affairs for the diocese.
So who will pay for the signature gathering and the potential referendum, one might ask.

Will the Bishop of Maine, Joseph Malone, be calling Salt Lake City, like the Archbishop of San Francisco did last year?:
Months before the first ads would run on Proposition 8, San Francisco Catholic Archbishop George Niederauer reached out to a group he knew well, Mormons.

Niederauer had made critical inroads into improving Catholic-Mormon relations while he was Bishop of Salt Lake City for 11 years. And now he asked them for help on Prop. 8, the ballot measure that sought to ban same-sex marriages in California.

The June letter from Niederauer drew in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and proved to be a critical move in building a multi-religious coalition - the backbone of the fundraising, organizing and voting support for the successful ballot measure. By bringing together Mormons and Catholics, Niederauer would align the two most powerful religious institutions in the Prop. 8 battle.
If the Mormons pay for this campaign, we'll help make sure this campaign is be about the Mormons. All about the Mormons. And, there's plenty of material -- all of it true.

One last thing: If there is a campaign in Maine, we need to make sure the best political operatives run the operation. That's what happened back in 2005 when our side beat the right wing's efforts to repeal non-discrimination legislation. The "No on 1" campaign hired some of the most experienced political people (without regard to sexual orientation) in the state to run the operation. We don't need a repeat of California's Prop. 8 where the leaders of that state's gay organizations blew the campaign and showed they don't know how to run political campaigns. This time, we have to play to win. None of the usual gay drama, please.

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