A week from this Tuesday, Brunswick must cast its vote not just in the race for president, but for representatives to both houses of Congress and to the State Legislature. The choices this election day have particularly high stakes, especially Question 1, which would legalize same-sex marriage and narrowly failed in 2009.
If Question 1 passes, Maine will be the first state to affirm gay marriage by popular vote. By denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples, our state, and most of the country, has withheld basic civil rights from too many of its citizens, for far too long. A “yes” vote is a vote in favor of equality for all.
Democrat and Brunswick native Mattie Daughtry will best represent the 66th District in the Maine House of Representatives. We are convinced by her sense of civic responsibility: Daughtry read every bill proposed in the 125th session of the Maine legislature, is dedicated to improving public education, and is committed to bipartisan policy making.
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree faces a challenge from Republican Jonathan Courtney for her seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, and we support her bid for a third term. Pingree, the first woman to hold this seat, led the debate on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and strongly supports a woman’s right to choose. Pingree also backed the Affordable Care Act, whereas Courtney opposes the law and has pledged to work toward its repeal if he is elected. Pingree supports Question 1; Courtney disapproves of it, demonstrating a far too narrow view of what equality means. Pingree has made clean energy a high priority, advancing projects that would modernize Maine’s electricity infrastructure by harnessing offshore wind and tidal power and reducing state dependence on oil.
Bowdoin’s distinguished lecturer and former Governor Angus King is our choice for Senate. Last year, Senator Olympia Snowe attributed her decision not to seek reelection to the paralyzing partisanship of Capitol Hill. If elected as an independent, King will have the unique potential to leverage his vote and create consensus across the aisle. His choice to run as an independent underscores the fact that King’s primary loyalty is to the State of Maine and its citizens, not to the institutional interests of either party.
King has been a strong voice on environmental issues, though we disapprove of his support for fracking and the Keystone XL Pipeline. He prioritizes transitioning the state to renewable, domestic energy sources, and he endorses carbon-reduction initiatives and increased fuel efficiency standards. Like Pingree, King stands for marriage equality and a woman’s right to choose, and supports the Affordable Care Act. He is working towards realizing a health insurance mandate that would cover all citizens, and in the debate over student loans he has taken a stand against financial institutions seeking to change interest rates to profit at students’ expense.
This election offers the opportunity for voters to immediately witness the impact of their ballots. As college students, we need politicians who will work in the present to secure and improve our future. We support those who will pursue equality in all arenas, uphold the historic expansion to the social safety net established in the Affordable Care Act, address the reality of global warming, and advance sustainable environmental and economic policies.
If Question 1 passes, Maine will number among the few states that were early to affirm marriage equality for all citizens. Should the measure pass, we hope the old saying that “As Maine goes, so goes the nation,” proves to be true.
This editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient's editorial board, which is comprised of Claire Aasen, Erica Berry, Linda Kinstler, and Eliza Novick-Smith.