Today, the House and Senate Judiciary Committee of the Maine Legislature meets to vote on whether or not to send L.D. 1020, “An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom” to the full legislature for a vote. Passing this bill out of committee means the Senate would vote on the bill within the next two weeks.
I am still walking on air after having recently returned to New York after a few days with the Maine Civil Liberties Union (MCLU) — where I witnessed one of the best displays of organizing I have ever seen.
Hitting the ground at 5 a.m., Shenna Bellows, Executive Director of the MCLU, and her team made the final preparations to welcome thousands of LGBT rights supporters to the Augusta Civic Center for the joint House-Senate committee hearing. The civic center was 90 percent filled, and our allies outnumbered the opposition by a conservative estimate of 4 to 1. Shenna orchestrated literally hundreds and hundreds of individuals, couples, families, and groups to testify on behalf of marriage equality. The hearing started at 9:30 a.m. and ended shortly before 9:00 p.m.. Kudos to the legislators, who stayed until the last person spoke!
I never saw Shenna off her feet for even a minute (not sure about how she handled restroom breaks, but I never saw her take one). I can’t speak to her abs, but her feet are definitely made of steel.
The effort was well worth it. The headline story of every state daily reflected well on the work of the MCLU, Equality Maine and coalition partners. Even the pictures told the story of how successful a hearing we had. Shenna had the bright idea of having all of our supporters wear red to the hearing – and every picture of the crowd and lineup before the legislators showed a sea of red.
The scene at the Augusta Civic Center – a sea of marriage supporters in red.
Testifying before the committee, Attorney General Janet Mills stated “civil unions are half a loaf… inherently unequal.” Let’s rally behind our allies — encourage your friends and family in Maine to call their legislators TODAY. Every family deserves a full loaf.
Great work MCLU, Equality Maine, GLAD, Maine Women’s Lobby and our coalition partners!
For more information on LD 1020, visit the Maine Freedom to Marry Coalition website.