In 2004, Massachusetts legalized civil marriage between same-sex couples. Opponents reacted with alarm, predicting terrible consequences to churches, to businesses, to children and families.

Since then five more states, and the District of Columbia, have also provided civil recognition to marriage between same sex-couples. It’s now eight years and 15,000 marriages later. How have the fearful predictions worked out?

In those states, as in Maine today, the Catholic hierarchy and some other religious leaders predicted that the granting of marriage licenses to same-sex couples would diminish our understanding of marriage, and that it would reduce the special character of such a pledge for heterosexual couples.

Nowhere has this happened.

In those states, as in Maine today, there were those who feared that civil marriage licenses for same-sex couples would infringe on the rights of religious denominations to decide what constitutes for them a sacramental marriage; that clergy would be forced by the government to officiate at weddings they did not wish to bless; that churches would be forced to host same-sex wedding parties in their social halls.

None of this has come to pass.

Laws in each state protect the rights of each religious community to determine whom they choose to marry, whose wedding parties they choose to host, and what configuration of family they choose to promote.

The citizens of Maine are now at a very important juncture with the Nov. 6 vote on granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Our Massachusetts marriage reality, and the realities of all the states with same-sex marriage, offers you the knowledge, born from our experience, that these fears are unfounded.

Now it is your turn to show that love, in the end, wins out.

Charles Martel, LICSW

co-founder, Catholics for Marriage Equality

Boston

In Senate, King will honor his commitment to Maine

Given the current environment in Washington, where party affiliation has become more important than being an American, I want a senator who will do what is best for our country as a whole.

When I watch the current antics in Congress, I am reminded of my children at play. Each child wants to be the boss, own all the toys and win the games.

As a parent, it has always been my job to teach them to share, negotiate and respect each other. Then everyone wins. I think the people in Washington need to remember these rules of childhood.

An example is the PAC money that has infiltrated our state. As a Maine resident, I take it personally that these people think we can be swayed in our beliefs and decisions by money and theatrics. These people do not care about Maine. They do not even care about issues. They just want their party to win the seat.

Angus King has always been a champion for all, a good businessman and a fair person with a willingness to negotiate. His commitment to Maine and its people cannot be disputed.

While governor, he never lost sight of the fact that Maine is made up of a fabric of small communities. His style of government balanced the needs of the state as a whole, while also acknowledging the importance of each of its separate towns and cities.

King’s ability to recognize and acknowledge all views and to validate where each person is coming from makes him an excellent choice to set an example for the rest of the country that Maine is not concerned with the partisan power struggle.

I believe if King is elected, he won’t work for any party. He will work for Maine and America.

Tammy Cutchen

Brunswick

Summers will stand up for small business, lower taxes

I hadn’t seen the three senatorial candidates together until the Eggs and Issues debate Oct. 9.

It was clear to me pretty quickly that Charlie Summers is “senatorial,” the kind of man we remember as “one of the good guys who represented his constituents well, a champion of small business, who worked tirelessly to lower taxes and reduce government spending.”

I trust Charlie Summers can get exactly that accomplished when he goes to Washington as Maine’s U.S. senator.

The lack of congressional bipartisanship that Angus King focused on will take care of itself, if, as Secretary of State Summers said, our elected officials treat one another as they would like to be treated.

How refreshing! No new law or rule forcing Congress to do their jobs and work for the betterment of the country, but counting on the character of our elected officials to do what they know is right!

It could catch on, with Sen. Summers, a man of integrity and talent, showing the way.

Rose Marie Russell

Westbrook

Divide-and-conquer tactics at work in U.S. Senate race

To the great disappointment of her constituents, Olympia Snowe decided not to seek re-election. She opted instead to beat an honorable retreat from the partisan, gridlocked battlefield that is Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce predictably endorsed Secretary of State Charlie Summers as its candidate to fill Snowe’s vacated seat.

Realizing that Summers is no Olympia Snowe and would fail once again to win an election on his own merit, the Chamber has financed a ludicrous TV attack ad in a desperate attempt to discredit the race’s front-runner, Angus King, and hold on to a Republican Senate seat.

This campaign is being followed by another series of TV ads financed by Republican surrogate groups favoring Democratic candidate Cynthia Dill over independent candidate Angus King.

Their deceitful intent is to divert enough votes from the independent to the Democratic candidate and guarantee the election of Summers, the Republican.

The unplanned divide-and-conquer strategy worked so well for the Republicans in the 2010 gubernatorial race; they are determined to exploit it once again.

I regard this influx of “away” money endeavoring to influence our vote as an unwelcome intrusion into Maine’s political process. Childish cartoons and political subterfuges accomplish nothing other than to diminish Summers’ image already blemished by his refusal to resign from the LePage administration.

Summers rightfully claims no legal responsibility for his surrogates’ devious tactics, but his tolerance of their efforts to demonize King and craftily praise Dill raises serious questions about his integrity.

The Democratic Party’s nominee is well-qualified and worthy of my vote, but I cannot in good conscience make the same mistake again that may result in the election of another undeserving Republican. I will cast my ballot for independent Angus King.

Phyllis Kamin

Cumberland

Dill, not King, will support sustainable economy, planet

Cynthia Dill is a genuinely progressive candidate who will — if elected — serve Maine and the nation with distinction.

She doesn’t flinch or waffle when confronting the issues of our time, from war and peace to health care, the environment and the economy. She understands that these issues are intertwined, and we need courageous leadership in Congress if we’re going to move the country forward.

Dill fights for workers’ rights, women’s rights and for us all. She understands that we need a sustainable economy and a sustainable planet.

Former Gov. Angus King doesn’t support higher taxes for the rich. He doesn’t support a Maine Woods national park that could revive the depressed northern Maine economy.

He killed a program, already set up, that would have improved Maine’s air quality by testing car exhaust emissions. A millionaire himself, King voted against an increase in Maine’s minimum wage.

State Sen. Dill supports teachers and making schools and lifelong learning accessible to all. She understands the vital importance of early childhood education. She realizes that we deserve universal health care and will work toward that goal.

She is well prepared for Washington through her legal work on behalf of veterans and disabled people, and her elected political experience at the local and state level. A hard worker, she is also a wife and mother and community volunteer.

She is the Democratic nominee, but just as independent in her thinking as Angus King, a former Democrat who endorsed George W. Bush in 2000. Sen. Dill puts people ahead of party.

I urge my fellow Mainers to learn more about Cynthia Dill and to join me in electing her to work for us all as our next U.S. senator.

Steve Cartwright

Waldoboro

Boyle works with different groups to get things done

I am pleased to support Jim Boyle for the District 6 seat in the Maine Senate.

With more than 30 years as a small-business owner, forester and environmental scientist, Jim knows what it takes to create jobs, improve education, and protect our beautiful Maine environment.

Jim is not an ideologue. He is a practical problem-solver with a good heart and a commitment to Maine.

Jim graduated from the University of Maine, then worked as a forester and then for Central Maine Power before starting Boyle Associates, an environmental and land-use consulting company based in Gorham.

For years, Jim has worked with land trusts, towns, state regulators, private developers and utility companies to get things done. Jim also owns the Avant Dance and Event Center in Westbrook.

Jim has been endorsed by the Professional Firefighters of Maine, the Maine State Employees Union — SEIU Local 1989, the Maine AFL-CIO, Maine Conservation Voters, EqualityMaine, the Maine People’s Alliance and OneMaine.

Jim can bring people together, not divide them, and he won’t play politics. We need more people like Jim in Augusta.

Brendan P. Rielly

president, Westbrook City Council

Westbrook