The Catholic Church in Maine has
announced it will fight gay marriage in the state.
In a statement released Friday, Bishop
Richard Malone, who heads the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland,
said the church will back an effort to repeal the law, and called gay
“I am deeply disappointed in the
Maine Legislature and the Governor for making same-sex marriage legal
in our state,” Malone said. “Same-sex marriage is a dangerous
sociological experiment that I believe will have negative
consequences for society as a whole.”
“Children will be taught in schools
that same-sex marriage and traditional marriage are simply different
expressions of the same thing, and that the logical and consistent
understanding that marriage and reproduction are intrinsically linked
is no longer valid. These are profound changes that will reverberate
throughout society with tragic consequences,” he added.
Governor John Baldacci, a Democrat,
became the first governor to sign a gay marriage bill on Wednesday,
less than an hour after lawmakers approved it. A gay marriage bill
awaits New Hampshire Governor John Lynch's signature.
“I have come to believe that this is
a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and
that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage,” Baldacci said
in a statement.
But he also gave a nod to opponents
looking to repeal the law with a “people's veto.” “Just as the
Maine Constitution demands that all people are treated equally under
the law, it also guarantees that the ultimate political power in the
state belongs to the people.”
Gay marriage opponents in Maine have
already announced they would pursue such a measure, and the Catholic
Church in Maine, which includes 200,000 members, is now backing it.
“Although the details are still being
worked out at this time, we can say with certainty that the Portland
Diocese will play a lead role in organizing this petition drive to
bring the issue before the voters,” said Marc Mutty of the diocese.
Efforts to turn back recent gay rights
victories are also underway in Washington state, where lawmakers
approved an extension to domestic partnerships, in Iowa, where the
state Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, and the District of
Columbia, where council members approved recognition of legal gay
marriages performed in another state or country.