Thursday, May 7, 2009

Maine Governor Signs Same-Sex Marriage Bill

The New York Times

Published: May 6, 2009

BOSTON — Gov. John Baldacci of Maine signed a same-sex marriage bill on Wednesday minutes after the Legislature sent it to his desk, saying he had reversed his position because gay couples were entitled to the state Constitution’s equal rights protections.

“It’s not the way I was raised and it’s not the way that I am,”
Mr. Baldacci, a Democrat, said in a telephone interview. “But at the same time I have a responsibility to uphold the Constitution. That’s my job, and you can’t allow discrimination to stand when it’s raised to your level.”

Yet gay couples may not be able to wed in Maine anytime soon. Laws typically go into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns, which is usually in late June. But opponents have vowed to pursue a “people’s veto,” or a public referendum, in which Maine voters could overturn the law.

The opponents would be required to collect about 55,000 signatures within 90 days of the Legislature’s adjourning to get a referendum question on the ballot. If they succeeded, the law would be suspended until a vote could be held. Depending on how soon signatures were collected, that would be in November or the following June.

The Rev. Bob Emrich, a leader of the Maine Marriage Alliance, one of the chief opposition groups, said he believed the law would be overturned but not without an intensive campaign.

“It’s not automatic by any means,”
Mr. Emrich said. “The proponents of changing the law and redefining marriage, they are very well funded, they have a great organization, and they’ve been at this a long time.”

Maine is the fifth state to legalize same-sex marriage, and the bill’s enactment comes almost five years after Massachusetts became the first in the nation to do so. The other states are Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont.

The New Hampshire legislature gave final passage on Wednesday to a same-sex marriage bill, but Gov. John Lynch has not said if he will sign it. Mr. Lynch, a centrist Democrat, has said in the past that marriage should be limited to a man and a woman. Once the bill reaches his desk, he will have five days to act on it.

Mr. Baldacci announced his decision in Augusta, Me., about an hour after the State Senate gave final passage to the bill, which codifies marriage as a legally recognized union between two people regardless of sex. Under state law, the governor had 10 days to sign the bill, veto it or let it become law without his signature.

But Mr. Baldacci, who cannot seek re-election because of term limits, said he had spent considerable time researching the legal ramifications of denying gay men and lesbians the right to marry.

Mr. Baldacci earlier supported civil unions for gay couples, which are legally recognized and provide many of the state rights and privileges that marriage does. Civil unions are legal in New Jersey, Connecticut and Vermont, but the latter two states are phasing them out after adopting same-sex marriage laws.(Editor's emphasis throughout)

Since Vermont became the first state to allow civil unions in 2000, gay-rights supporters have increasingly said they relegate same-sex couples to a separate and unequal category.

Mr. Baldacci said his past opposition to same-sex marriage stemmed from his Roman Catholic upbringing. Exploring his feelings on the matter — and listening to those of other Maine residents — was, he said, “very emotional, very much a sort of baring of the soul that you’re listening to and going through yourself.”

He described voters as “the ultimate political power in this state,” and said it was important for them to weigh in, too.

“I think they will see the reasoning that I had in regards to the issue,” he said, “but it’s their right to put their stamp on it.”


Tragically, Governor Baldacci not only failed to follow the Natural Law, he violated Traditional (orthodox) Roman Catholic Church teaching. This is particularly unfortunate since he is purportedly a member in good standing.

Catholic social teaching holds that same-sex "marriage" is not only contrary to the natural law, it is destructive of the "common good." The Roman Catholic Church also opposes same-sex unions primarily because they contribute to the destruction of the nuclear family which is created in the Triune image of God (imago Dei). Moreover, Catholic teaching holds that the souls of those who engage in homosexual activity are in mortal danger left unrepented which applies to those who continue such relationships/unions.

According to Catholic teaching there can be no human "right" which is incompatible with the Natural Law including of course homosexual activity, homosexual "marriage" or homosexual "unions". Political figures who claim to be Roman Catholics in good standing engage in rank hypocrisy when they support or otherwise facilitate the passing of same-sex "marriage" legislation. Governor Baldacci should either have resigned (rather than sign the same sex "marriage" bill in Maine) or cease referring to himself as a Roman Catholic in good-standing.

The Roman Catholic Church has the duty to properly discipline wayward members--including excommunication if necessary--especially those who occupy high-profile political positions. The fact that none to date have been so-disciplined severely detracts from the credibility of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States and the world.

Patently immoral behaviors, civil arrangements and public policy positions which are incompatible with the Natural Law have been deemed human or civil "rights" in the United States by both the Judiciary and the Legislative branches of government. This is primarily because human "rights" since the Enlightenment are ungrounded by anything other than temporary wants or desires--as currently expressed by those in power. Prior to the Enlightenment, human rights were grounded in the Natural Law. In the absence of the Natural Law human rights are fictitious that is, they are objectively non-existent.

A radical form of Secularism now controls the public square in the United States and much of the West meaning that the Natural Law has been replaced by a kind of tyranny of the temporary majority. Legal positivism in the courts has greatly contributed to this phenomenon of course. As a result, it has become impossible for any serious Roman Catholic person to hold political office in the United States without engaging in obvious hypocrisy.

For more background information see my essay: "What of Traditional Marriage?" HERE...

--Dr. J. P. Hubert