November 5, 2012

Most Maine top elected officials steer clear of gay-marriage issue

Our U.S. senators say it is a state question, while Gov. LePage offers no comment.

By Susan M. Cover
State House Bureau

(Continued from page 1)

LePage, a Republican up for re-election in 2014, told the Lewiston Sun Journal in October 2010 that if he were governor when a gay-marriage bill came through, he would veto it. He said the issue should be decided by voters and that he had no personal opinion on the matter.

"I have brothers who are gay and I'm closer to them than some that aren't," he told the Sun Journal. "I have a lot of friends that have been gay. Each to their own. People do what they want to do."

On Tuesday, voters will head to the polls to decide whether Maine should join six other states and the District of Columbia in allowing gay couples to get married. Maine is one of four states voting on the issue this fall. Maryland and Washington state voters will decide whether to uphold laws passed by their legislatures to allow gay marriage, and Minnesotans will consider a constitutional amendment to ban it.

Michaud is running for re-election against Maine Senate President Kevin Raye, who opposes same-sex marriage. And while Michaud said in a statement that he too believes marriage is a state-level issue, he made it clear he supports the ballot question.

"I have always believed that marriage is an issue that should best be handled at the state level," Michaud said in a statement. "That said, Question 1 in Maine protects both personal and religious freedom, and I will be voting yes."

Pingree faces state Sen. Jonathan Courtney, R-Springvale, in a re-election battle. Courtney opposes same-sex marriage.

Pingree is married to Donald Sussman, majority owner of MaineToday Media, which owns the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the Kennebec Journal and the Morning Sentinel. Sussman has donated $100,000 to Mainers United for Marriage, according to campaign finance reports.

Pingree spokesman Willy Ritch said a floor speech delivered by Pingree in 2009 after the Maine Legislature voted to allow gay marriage was, at one time, the most-viewed YouTube video of Pingree. Later, voters repealed the law, 53 percent to 47 percent.

"Chellie has been a longtime and very vocal supporter of it," Ritch said.

Susan Cover can be reached at 621-5643 or at:


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