Friday, March 13, 2009

Support ALL kids and mothers and families

Dear Friends,

I’m writing to share some exciting news and to ask a favor.

You may have heard that EqualityMaine and its coalition partners have launched a campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples in Maine in 2009. This campaign is a very exciting step forward for all of us, and one that touches me on both a personal and professional level.

The campaign will happen in two phases. The first will involve passing a marriage bill in the legislature, either in May or June. The second phase will involve defending the marriage bill at the polls as early as November. (The opposition has already announced it will collect signatures for a people’s veto if the bill passes.)

The good news is that we are making progress in the legislature, where we have an unprecedented 64 co-sponsors of our marriage bill! The first true test will be at the Judiciary Committee Hearing on Friday, April 24, where official testimony will be given for and against the bill. This is a critical day that will be watched closely by legislators and the media. It will be our first major opportunity to show that Mainers support fairness for all families – gay or straight. More details on the Public Hearing are to come, but please plan to take off work, bring your family, and join us in Augusta on Friday, April 24.

The bad news is that the opposition has begun to ramp up its own campaign. They are circulating a video and also sending mail to individual homes that says if the marriage bill passes parent’s rights will be threatened because children would be taught about gay marriage in schools. They also argue that same-sex couples already enjoy legal protections similar to marriage. These things are not only false, but they are being used as scare tactics to confuse and avoid the real issue. These same tactics have been used effectively in marriage campaigns in other states, but we can’t let them get away with this in Maine.

That’s why I need your help. I need your help to send a clear message that ALL families deserve the dignity, respect, and legal protections that come only from a legal marriage. When it comes to what’s important for children, the fact is that children of same-sex couples are disadvantaged when their parents do not receive all the legal protections of marriage.

As part of our campaign, we have launched a “Family Portrait Project” that captures both gay and straight families who believe all families deserve legal protections, regardless of sexual orientation. We are partnering with a wonderful Maine-based photographer, Jo Moser, who has agreed to volunteer her time to photograph families for this project.

Our goal is to capture at least 30 families from around the state before April 1. We hope to use these photographs as part of the Judiciary Committee Hearing later that month, and also use them on our website.

Would you consider being part of this important project? We need you and your family to join other Mainer families for fairness. We only have a couple of weeks to make it happen.

If you are interested, please contact photographer Jo Mosser at 207-329-4489 or by email (she’s waiting for responses). Jo is also cc’d on this email, so you can simply hit reply to this message. Once Jo hears from you, she will then set up a time to visit your home (or other location) as soon as possible.

Thank you so much for considering this.


P.S. Please forward this to anyone who you think would be interested in joining this special project. We only have a couple weeks. Thanks!

Betsy Smith
Executive Director
PO Box 1951
Portland, ME 04104
207-761-3752 fax
207-939-7769 cell

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