For Immediate Release
November 7, 2012
Catholic Mainers Voted Their Faith
Defying direction from their bishop, Catholics joined the majority of Mainers who voted Yes on Question 1 to permit same-sex marriage in Maine. Towns with strong Catholic communities this year changed their 2009 anti-marriage equality stance.
Gov. John Baldacci said, "I couldn't be prouder to be part of the Catholic voices that helped make same-sex marriage the law in Maine again. There's no question in my mind that Catholics for Marriage Equality made a decisive difference in Catholic centers like Auburn, Augusta and Biddeford that previously voted against marriage equality."
Anne Underwood, co-founder of Catholics for Marriage Equality, said, “No matter how you do the math, more than half of Maine's Catholics had to have voted yes to get these numbers in the cities, and even in the smaller towns.”
Catholics for Marriage Equality spokesperson Frank O’Hara said, “Large numbers of Catholics examined their consciences and voted their faith. Catholics chose to follow Catholic social justice teaching and Jesus’ example of inclusive love. They rejected the bishop’s position.”
In an October 25 letter, Bishop Richard Malone now based in Buffalo, N.Y. called Catholics for Marriage Equality “a dissident group.” He said, “Any Catholic who supports a redefinition of marriage – or so called ‘same-sex’ marriage is unfaithful to Catholic doctrine.” His letter came the day after he learned that Catholics for Marriage Equality had placed ads in Sunday newspapers with signatures of over one hundred prominent Maine Catholics voting Yes on 1.
Rev. Dr. Marvin Ellison, President of the Religious Coalition Against Discrimination said, "Our colleagues in Catholics for Marriage Equality demonstrated that people of faith are the most effective messengers with other people of faith. Same-sex marriage received markedly higher support among Catholics this election. I believe this is because we counted on Catholics shaping the strategy and delivering the message, especially on voting one's own conscience."
Dr. Sharon Groves, Director of Religion and Faith at the Human Rights Campaign said in Portland after the vote was announced, “I see first-hand the importance of faith organizing in the marriage states this I am so impressed by Catholics for Marriage Equality, who, with few financial resources and an all-volunteer board, created and implemented a Catholic initiated, Pro-Catholic engagement strategy.”
Catholics for Marriage Equality was established during the 2009 referendum to provide hope and healing to people being harmed and hurt by the Catholic hierarchy’s attack on marriage for same-sex couples. Throughout both elections, they have educated and advocated for marriage equality. In addition to their signature ads, they distributed hundreds of bumper stickers and several thousand buttons and book marks with their web site and logo: Catholics for Marriage Equality, God is Love.
Preach the Truth as if you had a million voices. It is silence that kills the world. -St. Catherine of Siena