To the Editors:
In two weeks, voters will come together at the polls to choose the leaders of our country, our state, and our communities. In Maine, we will also cast our votes on a referendum that, in my view, focuses on important issues of equality and fairness. I will vote yes on “Question 1” because I believe our democracy must protect the rights of all citizens, regardless of age, race, creed, religion, marital status, national origin, or, in this case, sexual orientation.
I set forth my views as a private citizen and a resident of Brunswick, Maine. I have been privileged in my life to know many people who seek, value, and build personal relationships grounded in a commitment to each other and to the common good. I have been moved by the joy they express when their bond is celebrated and ratified. Unfortunately, I have also been stirred by the deep hurt, disillusionment, and alienation that grips those who are denied a legal right of commitment to those they love.
The conflict over these rights has divided our Maine communities for too long and has denied basic civil rights and freedoms to many of our fellow citizens. I understand and respect those troubled by my position on this issue, especially because many who oppose “Question 1” are guided, in good faith, by their religious beliefs or their more traditional views of family. But while we are a nation grounded in the right of all people to practice their religion without the fear of interference or reprisal, we are also a nation with a state of laws that recognizes and protects basic human and civil rights, regardless of religious, spiritual, and personal doctrine.
I am honored to lead an institution that is nearly as old as our nation itself—a college devoted unambiguously to providing opportunity to those willing to work hard whatever their means, background, or personal beliefs. This access to opportunity and equal protection guides our college because it also defines America. I know that some will disagree with my personal position on this issue—including members of our Bowdoin College community—and I accept and respect their point of view. But as we go to the polls on November 6, I hope you will join me in affirming American and Maine values of fairness and equality by voting “yes” on “Question 1.”
Very truly yours,