is not Vermont"--unfortunately
For the most part, when we attempt to make moral and
intellectual extrapolations from voting results we stand on the shoddiest
of rhetorical platforms.
The 48 percent of Americans who voted for Bush, for
example, are not necessarily evil or stupid. Yet, there are those rare
occasions when the November results do encourage us to draw some rather
clear evaluations of the moral and intellectual portraits of the people
behind the votes.
50.8 percent of Maine voters, 314,144 individuals, voted
against referendum Question 6, which would have ensured equal rights for
all Maine citizens, regardless of sexual orientation. For the second time
in recent years Mainers had the opportunity to conclusively affirm a belief
in basic human rights.
Though gay rights were rejected by a narrow margin,
the fact that any Mainers--let alone a majority--can be fooled by bigoted
religious dogma and fallacious arguments about "special rights,"
is no less unsettling. Unsurprisingly, the Bangor Daily News reports that
exit polling found that voters with more education were generally more
likely to favor the measure, while the greatest opponents of the referendum
were high income males. 70 percent of those Mainers polled who voted for
Bush also voted against the referendum; half that percent of Democrats
voted "No" on Question six.
Michael Heath of the Maine Christian Civic League was
elated, but surprised by the results. He crowed: "[Mainers] looked
at the Boy Scout problem, the same sex marriage law in Vermont. They saw
the broad agenda of gay rights supporters. This was the second time it
has been defeated and that should be the end of it." Heath is correct
on one account. This is, as Governor King has commented, likely to be
the last attempt to bring gay rights legislation before Mainers for several
Anti-gay rights groups campaigned under the slogan "Maine
is not Vermont." How unfortunate for homosexual and heterosexual
Mainers alike, that in this instance we are not. Let us hope that the
old adage, as Maine goes so does the nation, does not hold true for human