While there's not much yours truly finds less appealing than outdoor concerts with bad sound, overpriced "beer gardens," and the looming threat of seagull feces, I've got to admit that this year's "Pier Revue" show, going down at the Maine State Pier on July 17, is making me consider digging up the ole fanny pack for an evening.
I joined a conference call with state representatives Diane Russell (D-Portland) and Adam Goode (D-Bangor) this afternoon. Also speaking on the call were Harriett Spencer of AFSCME Council 93, and Maine citizens Judy Morgan and David White. The point of the call was to mark President Obama's first 100 days in office, and also to express appreciation for US Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, and Reps Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree.
Though Jeff wondered yesterday if Maine's Republican senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, are far behind Arlen Specter in defecting from the GOP, Snowe's New York Times op-ed today indicates that she's more focused on reforming her party and making sure it learns lessons from this most recent blow.
"When Senator Jeffords became an independent in 2001, I said it was a sad day for the Republicans, but it would be even sadder if we failed to confront and learn from the devaluation of diversity within the party that contributed to his defection," she writes, before blaming the GOP's lack of perspective for "the disasterous elections of 2006 and 2008."
The Judiciary Committee work session is still going on. And the committee did kill the expansion of the domestic partnership registry (LD 1118). But the same-sex marriage vote (LD 1020) has been taken, and it's a majority "Ought To Pass."
Here's the tally:
Senator Lawrence Bliss (D-Cumberland), Chair - co-sponsor, commented in favor; voted Yes
Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter just did, citing "a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable" between himself and the Republican Party that became clear during the debate over President Obama's stimulus package. The only two other Republican senators to vote for that package are from Maine.
On Friday evening, I meandered over to Lyric Music Theatre in South Portland to catch opening night of Cabaret. (The Portland Phoenix's own Deirdre Fulton plays a nightclub dancer and, memorably, the gorilla; contributor Dan Clark also appears as the thuggish nightclub owner and a sex-crazed sailor. We will leave all suppositions, innuendos, and other commentaries to our readers.
In this week's issue of the Portland Phoenix, our editorial staff and freelancers (and one ad rep who joined in) explore a bit of why we live here. We invite you to participate as well - tell us why you live here. It needn't by any stretch be all positive (read ours for evidence of that) but it should acknowledge that you are, in fact, here, and not somewhere else.
In a short, but clearly argued, editorial yesterday, The Maine Campus, the student newspaper at the University of Maine at Orono, endorsed same-sex marriage.
It declares directly, "marriage
equality, as it is proposed in Sen. Dennis Damon's bill, LD 1020, poses
no threat to Maine's straight marriages or to its religious faithful.
As promised, when anyone sends me their LD 1020 testimony (as long as they send it to me before today's hearing ends), I'll post it:
Joint Committee on the JudiciaryTestimony of Mary L. Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director,Gay & Lesbian Advocates & DefendersApril 22, 2009Senator Bliss, Representative Priest, and Honorable Members of the Judiciary
Here's Senator Damon's testimony. (Anyone else - of any perspective - who wants to send their testimony in electronic form to firstname.lastname@example.org - today only - will see theirs posted, too.)
Sen. Bliss, Rep. Priest, esteemed members of the Joint Standing Committee on
Judiciary, I am Dennis Damon. I am honored to represent the 28th District in
the Maine Senate.
Two thoughts as I listen to the testimony on LD 1020.
1) While I know that my marriage is work, the testimony from same-sex couples about how hard they are willing to work - and how hard they have worked - to solidify their relationships in the eyes of the law, is truly humbling and makes me think that no matter how hard days have been in my relationship with my wife, I am deeply grateful that I never had to fight bureaucracies and engage lawyers the way they have.
The head of the Catholic Diocese of Maine, which has been spearheading opposition efforts:
House Speaker Hannah Pingree says two years ago, when she got married, it truly hit home that the man who married her and her husband was a gay man who could not himself get married.
Also, you can watch the video stream at http://www.mainecampus.com/ and follow the #marryME hashtag if you're on Twitter.
Senator Dennis Damon just got a standing ovation in the Augusta Civic Center when he stepped to the podium to testify in support of LD 1020, An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom.
You can listen to the testimony on this page: http://www.maine.gov/legis/audio/civic_ctr_apr.html