Daily Archives: November 4, 2009

Friendship a bit better with wine, beer

You gotta love this story.

Voters in a Maine coastal town, one that has been bone dry since 1919, voted to allow the sales of beer and wine. Not liquor and not on Sundays, but it is a start for Friendship, Maine.

Years ago I was the best man in a wedding held in Texas. I am not sure how it is today, but I seem to recall that we had to drive into Arkansas to buy beer because we were staying in a dry county. I toasted the bride and groom with iced tea because the rehearsal dinner was in a dry county.

Years later I was the best man in another wedding. It was not in a dry county. That was better.

Maine voters narrowly repeal same-sex marriage

Supporters of same-sex marriage may be tending to wounds today after voters in Maine narrowly repealed earlier legislation that gave gays and lesbians the right to marry.

But after they pick themselves up and dust themselves off, they should look to build on the positives that came from the campaign for equality for gays and lesbians. This was merely one of many battles to be waged and one day gays and lesbians will be given the same rights associated with marriage that heterosexual couples enjoy.

The Portland Press Herald is reporting on its website that unofficial results show that voters on Tuesday approved Question 1 on the Maine state ballot by 53 percent to 47 percent. The Yes on Question 1 camp did not receive a mandate and they came close to losing in their bid to back discrimination.

Same-sex marriage supporters are vowing that they are in the fight for the long haul. While this loss is a setback, they intend to continue the fight for civil rights and equality. And they should.

The Maine State Secretary of State website does not seem to have the results posted, yet, but I am not surprised the results were so close. Mainers take their voting seriously; voting turnout was expected to be more than 50 percent. That is not bad at all for an off-year election.

Maine voters are cautious and conservative, but hugely independent by nature. Many of them may have been swayed by arguments from either side of the issue. They also may have been put off by state lawmakers and Maine Gov. John Baldacci for passing and signing the law in the first place, not because of the law itself, but because lawmakers had the audacity to pass and sign the law. I may be well off the mark, but Mainers might have been far more willing to let same-sex marriage stand if the law had come as a citizen-back referendum rather than from the state Capitol in Augusta.

It will be interesting to see how this issue continues to play out and what influence it has on the rest of the nation.