NH Senate Committee Opposes Same-Sex “Marriage” while Maine Holds Public Hearing on Issue
By Kathleen Gilbert
AUGUSTA, Maine, April 24, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The city of Augusta saw what is considered the largest public hearing in Maine’s history over the same-sex "marriage" debate on Wednesday, when an estimated 3-4,000 people arrived to advocate for and against a same-sex "marriage" measure. Elsewhere in New England, New Hampshire’s Senate Judiciary Committee sent that state’s homosexual "marriage" legislation to the House with a recommendation to strike it down.
Maine’s LD 10-20, officially entitled "An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom," was proposed in February by Senator Dennis S. Damon. The legislation aims to overturn a 1997 state law reinforcing that marriage is between a man and a woman.
The hearing took place at the Augusta Civic Center, and lasted over eleven hours, starting at 9:30 a.m.
"The bill is fair; this bill’s time has come," announced Sen. Damon at the hearing, where homosexual "marriage" backers received his remarks with a standing ovation.
Bishop Richard Malone of the Catholic diocese of Portland spoke against the measure.
"We speak in opposition to same sex marriage because we are deeply concerned about the institution of marriage itself - in this state, and in this nation," said Malone.
Bishop Malone urged the committee to consider the detrimental effect of homosexual parentage on children, whom he said studies have shown to be more likely to struggle in school, engage in crime, abuse drugs, and attempt suicide.
"Marriage as practiced in America today falls short of its ideals," said the bishop. "But redefining it will make our problems worse, not better."
(For the bishop’s full statements at the committee hearing, go to: http://www.portlanddiocese.net/newsroom.php?nid=396)
Though the bill is reported to have nearly 60 sponsors, analysts are unsure whether it will garner enough support to survive. Democrat Gov. John Baldacci once said he was opposed to same-sex "marriage," but recently assumed a more neutral position.
In New Hampshire, true marriage advocates are celebrating a small victory after the state Senate Judiciary Committee recommended that the Senate vote down a bill to legalize same-sex "marriage." The state House narrowly passed the measure late last month.
Though the New Hampshire committee does not have power to kill the bill, members voted 3-2 to send the bill to legislators with an "inexpedient to legislate" recommendation.
Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and Iowa are the four U.S. states that have legalized same-sex "marriage," but Vermont was the first to do so through the legislative process earlier this month. The Connecticut legislature followed suit earlier this week.
The Boston-based homosexualist legal group, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, is carrying out a campaign to legalize same-sex "marriage" in all six New England states by 2012. Cases launched by the group were responsible for convincing supreme courts in Massachusetts and Connecticut to overturn marriage law.
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
New Hampshire House OKs Same-Sex "Marriage" Bill