PORTLAND – This is in response to Bill Nemitz’s Maine/New England section column on April 17 (“Documentary clips show sad face of Yes on 1″).

Nemitz’s references to snippets of a video trailer were taken out of context and served to mischaracterize my positions on same-sex marriage and on the Question 1 campaign. For the record:

First and foremost, let me say directly that I fully support the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

That said, I have always been a strong and tireless advocate for the civil rights of all, and have fought unjust discrimination in all its forms. Fairness in housing, fair employment practices and the right to vote are all civil rights.

Redefining marriage is not.

Second, this campaign was a long, painful process, made all the more difficult by the fact that the campaign staff and I were harassed and threatened repeatedly, to the point that I was concerned for the safety of my staff and our families.

Our computers were hacked, our campaign office was vandalized, death threats were made and our family members were shunned and verbally attacked.

Why? Simply because we worked on a campaign that presented a view, a majority view I might add, that marriage is between one man and one woman.

It was with this in mind that I said I would never do such a campaign again, knowing the toll it would take on my personal health, and on the well-being of my staff given the degree of antagonism that our position generated from some gay activists and their supporters.

Third, the Nemitz column extracted video clips out of context and made it appear that I did not believe the truth of our claims that homosexual marriage would be taught to children in the schools.

This is again a misrepresentation; I firmly believe that children should be taught to respect the dignity of all people.

However, legalizing same-sex marriage will redefine our core understanding of marriage as we know it, and have known it since the beginning of time, forever.

Legalizing same-sex marriage will result in a cultural shift which will pervade classroom discussions in any subject from sex education to family and consumer life, to language arts and beyond, redefining in the minds of children the definition of marriage.

It will be said to mean any combination of persons, from a man and a woman, to a man and a man, to a woman and a woman. Thus, children will be led to understand marriage in a new and different way.

Just one example of this is the kindergarten children in Lexington, Mass., who read the book “King and King,” a fairy tale that ends with two kings being married “and living happily ever after.”

However, the subtle reality of such classroom activities is impossible to get across in a 30-second sound bite.

There may not be a lesson plan on Monday titled “Gay Marriage,” but without a doubt the subject will come up, and a new view of the definition of marriage will be understood by our children via the classroom.

And finally, this campaign was personally and professionally painful and difficult.

I found myself at times in direct opposition to friends and colleagues who, like me, have fought for social justice for many years and whom I greatly admire and respect.

So it was with the recognition that I was embarking on an effort that the opposition would position as “politically incorrect,” “bigoted” and “unfair” that I, with some trepidation, agreed to take on the leadership of this campaign.

But in the end, to me, and to the majority of voters here and in 30 other states nationwide, the true definition of marriage is worth defending in law, despite the personal attacks and political invective that its supporters faced.

– Special to the Telegram