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Maine’s "Same Sex Marriage" Law "Discriminates" Against Polygamy

Date: May 07, 2009
Word Count: 900 words
Cross-Reference: "same sex marriage," Maine, "discrimination"

Contrary to claims by homosexuals, Maine's new "Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage" does no such thing. By the same terms of its supporters, the new law openly "discriminates" against consenting adult polygamists.

On May 6, 2009, the State of Maine became the fifth U.S. State to codify the legal construct of "same sex marriage." Supporters labeled the passage of the new law as a "civil rights victory," a matter of "fairness and equality" for "all" as well as "equal protection under the law." The new law was titled, "L.D. 1020, An Act To End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom." But the Act, itself, very specifically does "discriminate" - against consenting adult polygamists. 
On April 22, 2009, up to 4,000 Maine citizens attended the Public Hearing at the Augusta Civic Center. As expected, marriage controllers opposed the law, wanting to continue special rights only for those who choose "one man, one woman." Homosexuals and supporters wanted to further expand the receipt of those special rights to those who choose "same sex marriage" too. 
Mark Henkel, speaking as the National Polygamy Advocate and as a Maine citizen, also made a presentation at the Hearing - as "Neither For Nor Against." When he stood up to speak, the entire room immediately hushed, except for the overwhelming clicking sound of numerous media cameras on him. He noted that both homosexuals and marriage controllers re-define marriage. Factually, polygamy has always been included in the definition. Henkel offered the polygamy rights win-win solution to end the government marriage debate, the abolition of all big government marriage control for unrelated consenting adults. When he had finished, many people approached him, expressing their surprise and support for the alternative proposal. Despite the crush of photography, the major Maine media chose only to "sell" L.D. 1020 to persuade their audiences. 
Over the subsequent two weeks, the bill was rushed through the Legislature and was immediately signed by Governor Baldacci on May 6th – extremely quickly, indeed. 
Previously opposing "gay marriage" in favor of civil unions, the Governor explained, "I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law… Under the Constitution, we are all the same. We are supposed to make sure we are all protected from discrimination, regardless of the differences between us. My responsibility, that I swore an oath to do, is that I'm there for everybody." 
Homosexual political activists, identifying themselves as fighting for the "civil rights" of the "gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered" (GLBT) community, rejoiced in the new statute. Declaring that the new law was simply about "fairness and equality" for "all," they proclaimed that Maine had supposedly "ended discrimination" for "everyone." 
But the law did no such thing. 
Indeed, it begins by codifying the re-defining-parameter of marriage as "2 people." Namely, in Sec. 2, L.D. 1020 declares, "19-A MRSA §650-A is enacted to read: Codification of marriage. Marriage is the legally recognized union of 2 people." It would thus seem that the homosexual activists are not really fighting for the "civil rights" of the "B" in GLBT, after all. Apparently, homosexuals - despite their claims - do not really believe that "bisexuals" are "born that way." 
But seriously, way beyond "bisexuals" and the humor of that obvious dichotomy, the new law does take that numerical "discrimination" further. In Sec. 6., the new law re-writes 19-A MRSA §701, Prohibited marriage. 
The original §701 statute had been delineated into the following Clauses. 1. Marriage out of State to evade law. 1-A. Certain marriages performed in another state not recognized in this State. 2. Prohibitions based on degrees of consanguinity. 3. Persons under disability. 4. Polygamy. 5. Same sex marriage prohibited.  
The last two Clauses had originally declared the following. "4. Polygamy. A marriage contracted while either party has a living wife or husband from whom the party is not divorced is void." "5. Same sex marriage prohibited. Persons of the same sex may not contract marriage." 
L.D. 1020 strikes out Clause 5 ("same sex marriage") completely and alters Clause 1-A to apply only to Clauses 2-4 instead of 2-5. But Clause 4 was left intact - still prohibiting polygamy. 
If keeping one and striking out the other Clause had happened in reverse, homosexuals would be screaming, "Discrimination! Bigotry!" 
At the Public Hearing, when marriage controllers had argued against L.D. 1020, saying that children need a father and a mother, homosexuals responded that children only need two adults. Yet, Maine's new law "discriminates" against consenting adult polygamy, even though it fulfills both arguments - and more! As Mark Henkel asked everyone, "If Heather can have two mommies, why can't she have two mommies and a daddy?" 
For all the hype of supposed "equality" for "all," L.D. 1020 completely left consenting adult polygamists "unequal" indeed. As for "fairness," Maine's Bigamy law actually criminalizes the very free speech itself of a married man, for only saying an unlicensed "girlfriend" is a "wife." Indeed, 17-A MRSA Pt 2, Ch 23, §551 declares: "A person is guilty of bigamy if, having a spouse, he intentionally marries or purports to marry, knowing that he is legally ineligible to do so." The argument of "fairness" is utterly ignored for consenting adult polygamists. 
Hence, Maine's "same sex marriage" law is really not "An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage" at all. The law brings no "equality and fairness" for consenting adult polygamists, and especially no "equal protection under the law." By the same terms of the law's supporters, "discrimination" against consenting adult polygamy has not been ended. 
Instead, government marriage control continues... just re-defined.  


Bibliographic URLs:

“Maine legalizes same-sex marriage” 
LD 1020 
Public Hearing in Maine 
Mark Henkel, National Polygamy Advocate 
Governor Baldacci’s statement 
17-A MRSA Pt 2, Ch 23, §551 Bigamy. 
[Reviewed for publication - Review Board.]

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