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Interview with Scott Fish (10/8/09)
Scott Fish is the spokesman for Stand for Marriage Maine, the official organization supporting the Maine Same-Sex Marriage People's Veto, Question 1 (2009) which is scheduled to appear on the November 3, 2009 ballot.
First of all because we think it’s a bad bill; there’s the first reason. And why we think it’s a bad bill? Because primarily it radically redefines the definition of traditional marriage in Maine. That would be the concise answer.
2. There has been a lot of controversy over the television ads, particularly the claim that LD 1020 will impact education. Some concerns have been raised about the validity of the statements. What is your response to that?
Number 1, the claim is accurate. Number 2, I think it's an issue that Mainers who have seen the ads are concerned about. I don’t think what we’ve done - our way of advertising or things - that we’ve said are meant to give people a false impression. What are our ads do is tell people that in spite of what our opposition would like you to believe, radically redefining marriage, changing the definition of marriage, in law in the state of Maine will have consequences. The opposition would like us all to believe that people will hardly notice the change. You’ll just wake up the next day and it’ll just be another day and this thing will just roll along. We know from what has happened in other states, after same-sex marriage has been legalized that that’s not true. There have been consequences in other states. And there will be consequences in the state of Maine.
3. Can you sum up the major issues or concerns that the campaign has about same-sex marriage?
The important issue of the campaign is that there was a law passed by a majority of legislators, signed into law by the governor which radically redefines marriage in Maine law. Right now, as we speak, Maine law defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman. What the new law does is, is it wipes away. All current law having to do with marriage as one man and one woman is replaced with the definition of marriage as a sort of, any two will do marriage law. It takes it a step further by saying that in law the marriage laws will be gender neutral. So that all of the terms that have to do with marriage - the family and marriage, the bride, groom, husband, wife, mother, father - has to be gender neutral. All of those terms become essentially meaningless. And so we see no compelling reason for the state of Maine to make this radical definition to marriage. And there are remedies, legal remedies, for several of the legitimate complaints that domestic partnerships have as far as protection under the laws. And those can be achieved without radically redefining marriage. So we want to protect the traditional definition of marriage. And the other purpose of the campaign is to let the people of Maine know that there will be consequences. One of them will be the teaching that same sex marriage is exactly the same, exactly on par as a biological mom and dad raising their kids, and we see that that will be taught to very, very young kids. And that's the second point. The third point under consequences is that individuals, small business owners especially, that would reject to same sex marriages for valid religious objections are really left open to lawsuits under this bill as its currently written.
4. On October 7, the state's education commissioner Susan Gendron asked Attorney General Janet Mills to provide an analysis of same-sex marriage law effects on schools. What is the campaign's reaction to this?
Our campaign looks at it as a political stunt and I’ll tell you why. In the first place, Janet Mills, in her capacity as attorney general testified in favor of same-sex marriage in, I think it was April 22nd of this year at the Augusta Civic Center when they had the one public hearing on LD 1020. So I think when you are an attorney general and you come out, as she did, you can see it YouTube and you can watch her testify, how you then supposedly come out with an unbiased opinion is a bit of a stretch. Susan Gendron, similarly, is in an interesting spot, because her boss, the governor not only signed LD 1020 into a law but he has appeared on t.v., Channel 7 in Bangor is one place I know, and also in print supporting the No on 1 position. And he has, in fact, taken part in fundraising activities for the No on 1 position. Susan Gendron, the education commissioner, serves at the pleasure of Governor Baldacci. So for those three to allegedly put together an unbiased legal opinion, again smacks as a political stunt and we’re hoping that Attorney General Mills will do the right thing and not allow her office to be misused in that manner.
5. What about the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices recent announcement to investigate donations made to the Stand for Marriage Maine announcement? How does that impact the campaign?
The investigation is not at the campaign. A guy named Fred Karger who has an outfit called Californians Against Hate is going after the National Organization for Marriage, which has given funding to the Stand for Marriage campaign. Fred Karger is trying to get NOM to release the names of people who have donated to NOM. What he did, he did the same thing in California, what he did with those names was harass those people. And that’s the purpose. What the ethics commission did was have the ethics commission staff take a look at Fred Karger’s complaint against NOM who said there’s nothing here worth investigating. They had a split decision on the ethics commission where three of the members said we think we should look into Fred Carter’s complaint against NOM a little more however, they decided to wait until their November meeting, which would be after election day. In order to decide exactly what it is they would like to investigate.
6. Can you speak to Maine's history with same-sex marriage and domestic partnerships?
In Maine this last session when LD 1020 was passed by the legislature there was a companion bill. Rep. Leslie Fossel gave a companion bill to LD 1020 and what Les Fossel’s bill would have done is - everywhere in Maine law where the word “marriage” appears she would have inserted the phrase “domestic partnerships.” In other words married people in Maine and people with domestic partnerships in Maine would have a been protected exactly the same under Maine law. What was different about Les Fossel’s bill was that it didn’t redefine marriage. It left marriage defined as one man and one woman. The proponents of LD 1020 wanted nothing to do with Les Fossel’s bill. They wanted to redefine marriage. In Maine, people in domestic partnerships have had legitimate, I think and the I think the campaign thinks, concerns on certain points in the dealing with partners-end-of-life issues and things of that nature. Maine already has a very liberal, and I mean that in the good sense, domestic partnership law but it could be improved upon. Les Fossel’s bill would have done that. And the LD 1020 crowd just didn’t want anything to do with it.
7. Is there a plan of action if Question 1 is rejected?
I don’t know, I haven’t heard of any thing. We are planning on winning on November 3rd. I haven’t heard any discussion about what will happen if we lose. The honest answer is I don’t know.
- Maine Same-Sex Marriage People's Veto, Question 1 (2009)
- Question 1 supporters
- Stand for Marriage Maine
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