Up to 200 churches are expected to
collect money on Father's Day in support of the campaign to defeat a
ballot question which would legalize gay marriage in Maine.
Marriage equality supporters are
returning the issue to the ballot box after voters in 2009 narrowly
repealed a marriage law approved by lawmakers with a “people's
veto,” known as Question 1. If approved, Maine would become the
first state to legalize such unions with a popular vote.
According to the AP, the churches are
uniting to raise money for the Protect Marriage Maine political
action committee, the coalition of groups working to defeat passage
of the ballot question.
Churches are being urged to pass the
collection plate at Sunday services on June 17, Father's Day.
“The messaging we're using is that
those who are seeking to redefine marriage in Maine believe there's
no difference between moms and dads,” Carroll Conley Jr., executive
director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, an evangelical
organization and a member of the PAC, told the AP. “We believe
those differences are relevant. We don't think the differences in
the genders are societally imposed roles, and we believe that
children benefit when they're in that ideal environment where there's
a mom and dad.”
Denominations expected to participate
in the fundraising include Baptist, Pentecostal, Nazarene, Church of
God, Wesleyan, Evangelical Free, Advent Christian and others.
Maine's Catholic diocese, a driving force behind the 2009 repeal
effort, earlier said it would not actively participate in the
campaign, instead focusing on teaching Catholics about how it defines
Some churches are backing the ballot
measure by hosting phone banks and holding educational forums and
training sessions on door-to-door canvassing.
“What we want is for people to know
that this is a religious issue,” Rev. Sue Gabrielson, the minister
at the Sanford
Unitarian Universalist Church, which is hosting a weekly phone
bank in support of the ballot question, told the AP.
Chris Hughes, Sean Eldridge launch Maine fundraising challenge.)