Sunday, July 19, 2009

Focus on the Family Discusses Role in Maine Gay Marriage Referendum

Taken from the Everyday Christian:

Colorado-based Christian advocacy organization Focus on the Family has laid out its role in the looming referendum to overturn Maine’s gay marriage law, but would not reveal how much money it was spending toward the effort.

Sonja Swiatkiewicz, Focus’ director of issues response, declined to say how much money was being sunk into the campaign effort as a matter of strategy.

Bob Emrich is a pastor, leader of Maine advocacy group The Jeremiah Project and central organizer of getting petitions together to prompt the people’s veto initiative to put gay marriage on the November ballot. He told Everyday Christian that Focus has mailed petitions to its constituents.

“Most of our work so far has been to communicate with our constituents in Maine to alert them to the opportunity they have to restore marriage to the union of a man and a woman,” Swiatkiewicz said.

Maine’s referendum drive is similar to Proposition 8 in California which negated a State Supreme Court ruling allow gay marriages. Focus helped efforts there, but for now is concentrating efforts on the Maine petition drive even though more than the number of signatures required by the state has been collected.

“In the past we have worked on advertising in other states, but for now we are still working on the campaign to gather signatures before the end of July,” Swiatkiewicz said. “We will develop our on-ballot strategy after the People’s Veto has been certified for the ballot. At this time, have no plans for advertising before it’s certified.”

She added that Focus is grateful Maine has an opportunity to overturn a gay marriage law. Earlier this year gay marriage became legal in Vermont and New Hampshire by legislative action. Iowa had gay marriage legalized via a State Supreme Court ruling. None of those states have constitutional provisions for citizens to generate referendums.

“Maine should consider itself very fortunate for the opportunity it has to collect signatures and put it on the ballot,” Swiatkiewicz said. “Iowa, for example, has to go through a lengthy legislative process to have its law overturned. People in Maine have clearly expressed how fortunate they feel by their quick gathering of signatures already.”

Swiatkiewicz also countered an argument frequently given by gay marriage advocates that the right to marry is a civil right and being denied it is tantamount to discrimination.

“We believe fundamentally that children need a mother and a father,” she said. “The needs of children should outweigh the wants and desires of adults.”

Thirty other states already have laws or amendments on their books which defines marriage as solely between one man and one woman.

“We believe, and social science backs up, that the best family structure in which to raise and nurture kids is in a home with a a married mother and father,” Swiatkiewicz said. “Legalizing same-sex marriage, the Legislature and the governor have put their seal of approval on creating intentionally motherless and fatherless families. This is why we want to see in Maine marriage restored to the union of a man and woman the same as it has in 30 other states which have protected marriage protection by an amendment or by referendum as in California.”

She said working to strengthen and protect marriages is one of Focus’ priorities.

“Protecting the institution of marriage as between a man and a woman is one of our primary goals. We receive about 250,000 communications a month from folks who have very deep hurts, many of which are related to the breakdown of marriage and how that impacts mean, women and children.

“We work to protect or restore marriages as closely as we do on the sanctity of life beginning at conception and protecting religious liberties.”

The spin in this article is incredible, but this is a favorite:

“Most of our work so far has been to communicate with our constituents in Maine to alert them to the opportunity they have to restore marriage to the union of a man and a woman,”

That should read "...the opportunity to restrict marriage to the union of a man and a woman" since the right for a man and a woman to marry was never taken away. It is the half truths, the convenient omissions, the selective wordings that allow opponents to take GLBT rights and make them seen as an "attack" on traditional values. If only we had a citizen base that did not allow themselves to be so easily fooled, and if only they would participate in their government. As I have said many times in the past, we get the government we deserve.

Years ago I had the impression that citizens were more savvy than they seem on the surface. Whether that is true or not is still to be seen but the public is slow to withdraw their support when it finds dishonesty. This may be indifference in action, but that indifference of man's inhumanity to man is unacceptable; we as Americans in our meltingpot society are better than this, and it's about time we start acting it.

Our opponents put stock in the stupidity of the public; could they have been right to do so, or is this last saber rattling the final act of the aged who want to maintain control just a little longer?


massmarrier said...

Excellent report, and a very clear depiction of the devious nature of the anti-SSM crowd in Maine. THX.

Anonymous said...

This blog is Luciferic. It is consecrated to the Evil One and dedicated toward unnatural perversion. It is born in Hell.

Pat Gozemba said...

Thanks for following Focus on the family in Maine. Their profile needs to be raised by all of us. Calling attention to their role will help us preserve marriage equality in Maine.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Pat, thanks for the kind words. I question whether any state has the savvy to know how to vote on this topic, even our own Massachusetts, but after our encounter with Mainers when we went to give testimony and take video footage they did surprise both of us as I recall.

Remember that they actually read the book David Parker is famous for, called him out on how harmless the wording was, then sent him on his way with little regard for his half truths.