It’s fitting that New England, some of the early grounds for the birth of our nation, appears to be leading the way in granting equal marriage rights to all citizens. Just today, Maine Gov. John Baldacci (a Democrat who once opposed same-sex marriages) signed a bill passed by the state legislature to allow same-sex marriages.
In signing the bill, Gov. Baldacci said he couldn’t let his personal beliefs blind him to his duty to uphold the Constitutional rights of everyone. He says: “I have a responsibility to uphold the Constitution. That’s my job, and you can’t allow discrimination to stand when it’s raised to your level.”
His action reminds me of the ethical dilemma of another governor a long time ago. I grew up in Hawaii, and that state’s first governor, John Burns, was a staunch Catholic. But he signed a bill allowing abortion in the state because he believed in a woman’s right to her body. This separation of church and state should always be the guiding principle among our leaders, rightly demonstrated years ago by Hawaii Gov. Burns and today by Gov. Baldacci.
Still, there’s the possibility that conservatives will take this issue “to the people” and bully the popular vote into rescinding what lawmakers have determined is best for the state. It’s this mass riot mentality that got the California populace to deny marriage rights to gays last year. Let’s hope Maine voters don’t repeat the mistake of California, and they let freedom (and wedding bells) ring loud and clear.
Link to New York Times story.