Reflections Following a Defeat in Maine
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
My friend Manny and his partner Melvin live in Saco, ME. They’ve been together through four different states of residence and over twenty years of life together. Prior to their move to Maine, they lived in Massachusetts and were legally married there.
When Manny and Melvin first got together, marriage equality wasn’t even on the radar screen. Twenty years later, we find ourselves experiencing a gut-wrenching loss on marriage equality in Maine. It is painful, especially for Manny, Melvin, and so many of you who have worked diligently to support equal marriage.
Following the defeat of marriage equality in California, there were some well-intentioned people who said, “I’m sorry that your side lost.” We all—not just Manny and Melvin—lost yesterday in Maine.
What we must remember is that once again we have made an impressive start. We have made a difference. And I have no doubt that we will continue to do so. The results of yesterday’s vote in Maine call us to be vigilant, patient, and determined.
Maine has a history of votes on the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (BGLT) people. Perhaps no state has voted more on BGLT rights than Maine over the past twelve years. Mainers considered BGLT non-discrimination laws in two prior elections before voting in support of non-discrimination in 2005. The struggle for marriage equality in Maine will also take time and we will win this right too.
Only six years after Massachusetts ended marriage discrimination and less than a decade after Vermont instituted civil unions, forty-seven percent of Maine voters stood on the side of love Tuesday and cast their vote for marriage equality
We will end discrimination in Maine. Manny and Melvin’s marriage will someday be legally recognized in Maine. Maine will join us in celebrating love and commitment.
The work that our Unitarian Universalist congregations and ministers have done is once again exemplary. We continue to show that religious communities can be places of wholeness, inclusion, and love. We continue to remind people that marriage is about committing to one another, supporting one another, and creating loving families together.
The next few weeks will be painful. We need to support the BGLT people and allies for whom this loss hits particularly hard. Distancing ourselves from one another only increases the pain. Standing together heals.
Whatever hurt you may feel, know that your work is valued, appreciated, and respected. The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has committed itself to standing with you. We know that we must stand together when times are hard, that healing happens through love, and that love will win.
Thank you for all that you do to heal our world, advance equality and justice, and stand on the side of love.
Rev. Keith Kron
Director, Office of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Concerns
Unitarian Universalist Association