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Gay marriage groups fund state legislative candidates

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October 15, 2010

AUGUSTA, Maine: The battle over same sex marriage in Maine is brewing again. A year ago, Mariners went to the polls to decide on the issue of same sex marriage. In 2009, the Maine House passed the state's gay marriage law by a vote of 89-57, the Senate, 21-13. Despite this, the issue just won't go away.

According to recent campaign finance reports, same sex advocacy groups such as Equality Maine are spending big to get sympathetic individuals in office this fall. For example, nearly $45,000 has been spent this year to elect pro-gay marriage candidates and to defeat anti-gay marriage candidates.

Bob Emrich, a Plymouth pastor and one of the leaders of last year's successful effort to repeal the gay marriage law, says that Equality Maine has targeted more than a dozen House races and nearly a half-dozen Senate races in their attempts this fall.

Emrich and those like minded are fearful that big monetary incentives may cause some candidates to bow to organizations like Equality Maine. "When you're talking, in a Senate race, somebody spending $5,000 to help you get elected, that's a lot of temptation to overcome, you're going to listen very closely to whatever it is they ask you to do," Emrich says. "People like John Piotti, do you think he's going to turn to Equality Maine and say: 'Hey, thanks for spending $5,000 to help me get elected, but I don't want to touch your issue?'"[1]

On the flip side, Emrich and his allies are fighting back. The National Organization for Marriage has produced fliers that give detailed information on candidates and their voting records on the issue, and is working hard to overcome this stubborn obstacle.