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Old 11-14-2008, 12:24 AM   #1
Uncle Remus
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Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry in Maine

Looks like some religious leaders are in the 21st century:

November 13, 2008 01:56 PM

Religious leaders across the state held press conferences this morning to support same-sex marriage.

A group of more than 120 religious leaders from different faith traditions across Maine have formed the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry in Maine.

"We want to build on Maine's tradition of equal treatment and fairness," said The Rev. Don Rudalevige of Cape Elizabeth, a retired United Methodist minister, in a press release. "With momentum in New England clearly moving toward equality and inclusion, now is the time to move this conversation forward."

Maine law currently defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

The group said in its release that the religious leaders are concerned for the children of same-sex couples in Maine who they said are harmed by their parents' exclusion from marriage. Children in these families may lack health benefits and other critical protections that would extend to married parents, the group said.

The release also suggested that "committed gay and lesbian partners who have loved and cared for each other for decades often still feel vulnerable in old age because they cannot marry and safeguard their relationships with the protections marriage gives non-gay couples."

"We cannot stand by while families in our congregations and communities are at unnecessary risk," said The Rev. Dr. Mykel Johnson, minister at the Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church in Portland. "We are not only talking about legal and financial benefits, but also the dignity, social recognition and support that marriage brings families."

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Old 11-14-2008, 12:32 AM   #2
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And more good news:

(11-13) 18:17 PST SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Supreme Court has asked state Attorney General Jerry Brown to reply by Monday to lawsuits challenging the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage - a sign that the justices are taking the cases seriously and will not dispose of them quickly.

Two groups of gay and lesbian couples and local governments led by the city of San Francisco filed the suits a day after the Nov. 4 election, when Proposition 8 passed with a 52 percent majority.

They argue that the initiative, a state constitutional amendment, violates other provisions of the California Constitution by taking rights away from a historically persecuted minority group and stripping judges of their power to protect that group. The couples' suits contend that Prop. 8 makes such fundamental changes that it amounts to a constitutional revision, which can be placed on the ballot only by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.

Brown has said he will defend Prop. 8 in court while also supporting the legality of an estimated 18,000 weddings performed under the court's May 15 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

That ruling declared that state law defining marriage as being between a man and a woman violated the state Constitution. Sponsors of Prop. 8 contend that the initiative - which declared that only marriage between a man and a woman is "valid or recognized in California" - would invalidate all existing same-sex marriages.

The filing the court requested from Brown's office will not address the ballot measure's validity, but will focus instead on the initial questions of whether the justices should accept the suits for review - and, if so, whether they should suspend Prop. 8 while they decide the case, said the state's lawyer, Christopher Krueger, a senior assistant attorney general. Suspending Prop. 8 would allow same-sex marriages to resume.

"I think it's fair to infer that the court is looking at these (cases) very carefully," Krueger said. Usually, he said, when plaintiffs ask the state's high court to take up their case directly without first filing in a lower court, the justices dismiss the suit without asking the other side for a reply.

Krueger declined to say whether Brown's office would ask the court to dismiss the suits without further review. He noted, however, that Bill Lockyer, the attorney general when gay-rights advocates first challenged the marriage law, invited the state Supreme Court to review the issue in 2006 even after an appellate court had upheld the ban on same-sex marriage.

Although the court's request, issued Wednesday, did not mention any issues in the suits or state the justices' views, "it indicates that the Supreme Court sees the seriousness and immensity of the issue, and before it takes any action it wants to hear from Jerry Brown," said Irving Greines, an appellate lawyer in Los Angeles.

Greines filed papers Wednesday on behalf of the Beverly Hills Bar Association and California Women Lawyers supporting the legal challenges to Prop. 8 and urging the court to accept the suits for review. On Thursday, the conservative Pacific Justice Institute submitted a letter arguing that the court lacks authority to issue a stay that would suspend a voter-approved state constitutional amendment.

The lead case is Strauss vs. Horton, S168047.

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Old 11-14-2008, 10:01 AM   #3
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Gotta love Maine. But then I'm just a touch biased as that is my original "home town state."

Thanks for the update on CA. It helps to have you share this info, more than you may realize!

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Old 11-14-2008, 11:20 AM   #4
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Agreed, thanks for posting the info.....

Yay, Maine! Finally a state I'd consider moving to with someone. haha....
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:45 PM   #5
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Thanks for keeping me posted on US events. I like these stories much better than the election ballot initiative results.

I'd say the coalition in Maine is a very good sign. The equal marriage tide really turned in Canada when progressive religious groups got tired of having the media represent all religious groups as prejudiced and discriminatory. So, they banded together (Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc.) and started to fight to be heard. I hope it works as well in Maine, and spreads to the rest of the country.
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