Up to 200 churches on Sunday are
expected to participate in special Father's Day plate offerings to
raise money 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repealed a marriage law approved by lawmakers with a “people's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.
The offerings will benefit Protect
Marriage Maine, the coalition of groups working to defeat passage of
the ballot question.
“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 Protect Marriage Maine, 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 participating 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 marriage.
Sanford Unitarian Universalist Church
is among the churches supporting passage of the marriage 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,” said Rev. Sue Gabrielson.