from Maine Public Broadcasting Network.
Supporters of the same-sex marriage proposal on the November ballot announced the launch of a new group called “Republicans United For Marriage,” which they say illustrates that the issue is no longer a political one. Opponents, however, maintain that same-sex marriage is against Republican principles, and describe the new group as “insignificant.”
The message from Monday’s press conference was a simple one:
“It’s OK to change your mind,” said Republican representative Stacey Fitts of Pittsifeld. She did just that after originally opposing the gay marriage law in 2009, a measure that was enacted by the legislature, and later repealed following a statewide referendum.
“I know many gay couples,” said Fitts. “I’ve talked with my family, my friends, I’ve thought about it a lot, and as a husband and a father, I’ve come to believe that 2 people who love each other should have the freedom to get married.”
Fitts is one of three GOP lawmakers who have signed onto a new group called Republicans United for Marriage. The group has about 20 members in all right now, including attorney Clare Payne, an active Republican from Holden.
“I used to believe that marriage was only between a man and a woman, however based on my review of the legal issues and my own life experiences, I now believe that everyone deserves equal protection under the law when it comes to the right to marry,” Payne said.
Organizers of the coalition behind the effort to legalize same-sex marriage in Maine say the new Republican partnership shows that it is no longer a partisan issue.
“It’s not a contradiction to be a Republican who supports the freedom to marry for all loving committed couples,” said Matt McTighe. He is the campaign manager at Mainers United for Marriage, an umbrella organizations which he said now represents 77 different groups all supporting November’s ballot initiative.
“We see it in all the conversations we’re having with Mainers across the state,” McTighe said. “We’ve had 113,000 conversations already with Democrats, with Independents, with Republicans, all across the board, and all of them understand that this is an issue about family not politics.”