(UPDATED) Mainers United for Marriage Yes on 1 Rally Draws Large Crowd Supporting Freedom to Marry

Posted on September 10, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

UPDATES: Local Maine news reports via WGME and Portland Press Herald.

(As our site is NOT one of the millions down right now but theirs is, I am sharing as many links to today’s Portland Mainers United for Marriage/ Yes on 1 rally as I can. ~AP)

In addition to today’s Portland rally (more pictures via link) are these other kick-off events this evening:

Sanford, ME | 5:30 p.m. | Unitarian Universalist Church
Kennebunk, ME | 5:30 p.m. | Unitarian Universalist Church
Lewiston, ME | 6:00 p.m. | Lewiston Office 675 Main St. #6
Augusta, ME | 6:00 p.m. | Unitarian Universalist Church
Brewer, ME | 6:00 p.m. | Brewer Office | State Street Plaza
York, ME | 6:00 p.m. | Seacoast Democrats Office | 647 U.S. Rt. 1


From their press release:

PORTLAND – Nearly 500 people rallied today with Mainers United for Marriage in support of the freedom to marry and a “Yes” vote on Question 1 in November.

Speakers told their stories of why marriage matters to all loving, committed couples, while the large crowd waived signs and cheered in support of allowing same-sex couples to receive a marriage license.

Will Brewster is a retired Episcopal priest, who has been married for 46 years and has three children, two sons and a daughter.

“My faith has been the central guiding force in my life for as long as I can remember,” Brewster said. “I served as a parish priest for more than 40 years, and I’ve officiated hundreds of weddings. “As a man of faith, I’ve preached a great deal about love, tolerance and not judging others.”

Brewster once had doubts about same-sex marriage and thought, perhaps, it would be better if same-sex unions were just called something different.

“But then I thought of my youngest son, Hal,” Brewster said. Hal served in the U.S. Army, including a tour of duty in Iraq. “I couldn’t understand why, if my son was willing to risk his life to fight for our freedoms, he couldn’t come back home and have the same freedom to marry the person he loves, just like his brother and sister.”

After talking with his wife and prayerful consideration, Brewster made a decision to speak out.

“There’s no question in our minds that civil unions or domestic partnerships simply aren’t enough,” Brewster said. “They are no substitute for the lifetime commitment and enduring bond of marriage, which makes all families stronger.”

Other speakers included Pastor Michael Gray of Old Orchard Beach United Methodist Church. Gray was the lead signer on the citizen’s initiative to allow same-sex couples to get a marriage license.

“Opponents of the freedom to marry are working hard. They are trying to convince voters that the citizen’s initiative would somehow hurt religious freedom or tell churches what they have to do. I am here to tell you, that’s simply untrue,” Gray said. “I am a United Methodist pastor. The denomination that I call home does not allow its clergy to bless marriages for gay and lesbian couples. Nothing in the law that we will be voted on in November will change that. No church or clergy member will ever be forced to perform marriages that go against their religious beliefs.”

Portland Mayor Michael Brennan welcomed the Yes on 1 rally to Portland, and spoke about how his support for marriage is consistent with his Catholic faith and as a founding member of Catholics for Marriage Equality.

And Matt McTighe, campaign manager for Mainers United, closed the program.

“In eight weeks, Maine has a chance to make history by being the first state in the country to vote ‘Yes’ on marriage. Thanks to the efforts of people like you, support for marriage has never been higher in any state, at any time than it is right now in Maine,” McTighe said. “Are you ready to make history in November?”

The crowd responded with a loud “Yes.”

The speakers were: Ali Vander Zanden, coalition director for Mainers United for Marriage; Pastor Michael Gray, Old Orchard Beach United Methodist Church and lead signer of the citizen’s initiative; Amelia Nugent, persuasion canvasser for Mainers United for Marriage; retired Episcopal Priest Will Brewster; Sarah Dowling of Freeport; and Matt McTighe, campaign manager for Mainers United for Marriage.

Other kick-off events were scheduled for later in the day at sites across the state, including Lewiston, Orono, Kennebunk, Sanford and York.

Mainers United for Marriage is the coalition to win marriage for all Maine families. A “Yes” vote on Question 1 in November will allow marriage licenses for loving, committed same-sex couples in Maine while also protecting religious freedom.

Campaign bumper stickers, t-shirts and hats are available at http://www.mainersunited.org/store. Lawn signs are available at campaign offices around the state.

For more information about the campaign, visit http://www.mainersunited.org.

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