Wednesday, June 19, 2013
PORTLAND — If they follow through on their plan to put same-sex marriage on the November 2012 ballot, EqualityMaine and their left-wing followers will be ensuring that Maine will be a red state in the 2012 election cycle.
Same-sex marriage backers comfort each other on Nov. 4, 2009, the day after an effort to uphold the law was defeated. A plan to put the issue on the 2012 ballot is misguided, a Republican activist says.
2009 Press Herald file
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steven Scharf is a Republican activist who is gay and lives in Portland.
I say this because by putting this lightning-rod issue on the ballot, they will be bringing all of the socially conservative voters out of the woodwork to vote against it.
Those same conservatives will, at the same time, vote for the Republican candidates for president, U.S. Senate and the U.S. House. As well, they will be marking their ballots for the Republican state House and state Senate candidates. EqualityMaine ensures such an outcome by putting same-sex marriage on the 2012 ballot.
Don't get me wrong – as a fiscally conservative Republican, I would welcome such an outcome in the electoral side of the equation. But the liberal progressive establishment is showing how clueless they are about the Maine electorate with this move.
They think that putting this on the ballot in a high-turnout year is the tonic to cure the ill of getting around the groundswell these ballot questions generate. The problem is that they are going to hit their target yet again, yet miss the goal. In 2009, they planned for a victory with 265,000 votes. They got 267,000 votes. Their problem was that the opposition got 300,000 votes.
The EqualityMaine folks seem to think that there are only 300,000 people who would vote against same-sex marriage in Maine, and all they need to do is put it on the ballot in an election in which more than 600,000 people vote. They have looked to the 2008 election, in which 731,000 people voted, and think the re-election of Barack Obama is their secret weapon.
Assuming the same number come out to vote in 2012, they will need to get 366,000 votes. Where do they think they are going to find 99,000 more people to vote for this special-interest referendum question? As we have learned, it is far harder to get people in Maine to vote in favor of things than to vote against them (except bonds).
They have cited polls that show 53 percent of Mainers support gay marriage. Several public and private polls showed the second TABOR initiative winning by at least 60 percent, and that question failed 60-40 in the same election as the last same-sex marriage vote. Early polls showing just a slight margin of victory are not going to cut it when the heavy politicking begins in the fall of 2012.
EqualityMaine has said that they'll need to have 40,000 conversations to bring people into the fold. The reality is that they will need to have more than 100,000 conversations just to collect the 80,000 signatures by December 2011 to get on the ballot.
Having collected signatures for several taxpayer citizens initiatives and tax repeal people's vetos, I have found that that is a tall order.
Each one of them went down to the wire, and one even failed to gain enough signatures. When I was out collecting signatures, I usually only converted 25 to 30 percent of the people I talked with on a given day.
The EqualityMaine establishment is going to tell you that I write this because I oppose the idea. The fact is, I believe that government should get out of the marriage business altogether. If they were to collect signatures to put that on the ballot, I would be 100 percent behind them.
The problem is that EqualityMaine doesn't understand the electorate of Maine. They think that they just have to keep putting the issue in front of the political limelight and eventually they will be successful.
In reality, here in Maine, they are just turning the political climate further away from an environment that will help gay men and lesbians in the long run.
- Special to The Press Herald