A memo from the state Attorney General’s Office is being hailed as a game-changer in the question of Peaks Island secession, but people may be reading more into it than is really there.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Linda Pistner was asked if Peaks Islanders and the Legislature must go through a series of time-consuming steps outlined in state law before voting to create a new town in Casco Bay.

Pistner replied that the Legislature makes the laws, and if it wants to write a bill that ignores the established secession practice, it is free to do so.

“I see nothing in the existing statutes that would prohibit Peaks Island residents from making another attempt at secession, whether they take the path already outlined in statute or seek to go around it with new legislation.”

Well, just because the Legislature can do something doesn’t mean that it should. And even though some Peaks Islanders don’t want to wait, the Legislature should not abandon the process that’s laid out in the law books for how this effort should be evaluated.

Secessionists argue that they shouldn’t have to start with an island referendum because they held such a vote five years ago in their unsuccessful attempt to break off from Portland. And they claim to have conducted a recent poll on Facebook that supports a split.

Neither of these votes should count. Five years is a lifetime in politics, and there is no way of knowing whether people who voted for secession in 2006 would support it today, or whether new voters would have the same opinion as the old-timers. And Internet voting may be our future, but it’s not here yet and lawmakers should be careful about honoring this kind of vote now.

They should also be concerned about the implications of supporting the secessionists’ claim that they should be allowed to split from Portland because they pay more in taxes than they receive in services. There are few towns in Maine that don’t have a neighborhood that meets that description, and the Legislature should consider what would happen if they all wanted independence and demanded the same fast-track deal that Peaks got.

It may be that Peaks ends up as its own town, but what is the harm of going through the process? The Legislature should take the time to do this the right way and follow the law.