October 21, 2012

Our View: Support families, vote 'yes' on Question 1

We can preserve traditional American values by giving all families equal protection under law.

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Tradition is important, and honoring it does not make someone a bigot. It is right to be concerned about preserving family structures that protect children and create an environment that would give them the best chance to succeed.

And the traditionalists are right when they say the institution of marriage is in trouble. Too many children start their lives without the benefit of loving and supportive parents.

This affects their health, their performance in school, their employment prospects and eventually the choices they make about the kinds of families they will have. A movement that promoted marriage and supported parents would have a positive impact on society.

NOT THE ONLY VALUE

But mindlessly following tradition and denying marriage to same-sex couples does not come close to accomplishing that goal. If we believed that tradition is the only important value, slavery would still exist, women could not vote, children would work in coal mines, segregation would be the law and interracial couples could be denied the right to marry.

Breaking with tradition on this issue does not take anything away from families led by a man and a woman, but it would give more Maine children the same benefits of family life that Question 1 opponents say they value.

These children also need the love and support of parents, regardless of their gender, which will give them the foundation to succeed.

Voting yes may be a tough choice for some people, but it is the right one. Maine should honor our most cherished tradition and vote "yes" on Question 1.

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