Archive for October 21st, 2012

Fact Checking the “Protect Marriage Maine” Ads, as Scare Tactics and Lies Once Again Emerge As Only Strategy

Posted on October 21, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

First, please review the “Question 1” trailer below, in which Portland diocese spokesman Marc Mutty, who headed the “Stand for Marriage Maine” coalition with Frank Schubert and National Organization for Marriage (NOM) president Brian Brown, admits that they lied and used scare tactics to remove Maine’s marriage equality law, LD 1020:

    In 2009, Maine passed a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry in the same way straight couples could. Stand for Marriage Maine (S4MM), fund mostly by the Mormon front group NOM with large help from the Maine Catholic Church, collected signatures to place a repeal of the bill on the ballot that November.

    This film provides an inside look at both sides of that battle. It was produced and directed by Joe Fox and James Nubile. Visit their website here:

Well, as they say, “the more things change, the more they stay the same”.

Check out this Frank Schubert interview from last week in which Schubert gets absolutely shredded (audio link within article).

Mainers United has been taking note of similar lies and tactics by the ‘Protect Marriage Maine’/ NOM group in their newly released television ads being aired now in Maine. Via press releases:

    In a new 15-second ad, Protect Marriage Maine travels all the way to another country for a story intended to scare voters. As with previous ads, the anti-marriage campaign falls short when it comes to the facts.

    The ad claims that a Canadian sportscaster was fired for a tweet in which he talked about his opposition to allowing same-sex couples to marry.

    The Baltimore Sun investigated the claim, called it “scare tactics” and found that the incident has nothing to do with the question of whether voters should approve marriage for same-sex couples.

    Here are the details from the Sun: Damian Goddard, a Canadian sportscaster, lost his job shortly after sending a tweet in support of a hockey agent who had come under criticism for opposing gay marriage. He contends the tweet was the reason he was fired. His former employer, SportsNet, claims it had made the decision to fire him for cause before the tweet and that it has documentation to back it up. SportsNet has declined to release the details because it is a personnel matter but has said it will do so if the case ends up in court. The two parties have been engaged in private mediation.

    Goddard has worked as a spokesperson for the National Organization for Marriage, which has funneled millions of dollars into anti-marriage campaigns around the country, including in Maine this year and in 2009.

    As for the claim of other “consequences,” a Seattle Times national investigation “failed to turn up any evidence that same-sex marriage had produced a rash of suits involving businesspeople. We also checked with human rights commissions in four of the six states where marriage is legal; the commissions said there was not an increase in discrimination findings or suits involving same sex marriage.”

    In Washington, a group of law professors wrote a letter to Governor Gregoire citing only six cases over nine years in the United States where religious organizations or groups with a particular religious belief against same-same marriage have been pulled into litigation over the issue. Only one involved a business refusing service to a same-sex couple (in New Mexico, a state that does not permit marriage for same-sex couples but does ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation along with race, religion, sex, national origin, etc.).

    A recent Maine Today Media “Truth Test” echoed those findings, stating: “We checked with human rights commissions in New Hampshire and Vermont, where same-sex marriage is allowed. Connecticut’s didn’t return a message and data was mostly unavailable by press time in Iowa and Massachusetts. There were no gay-marriage related claims against religious organizations in any of the states.”

    State anti-discrimination laws, such as the one supported by Maine voters in 2005, set the rules governing claims of discrimination. Those rules will not change in Maine, regardless of the vote on Question 1 in November and are not related to marriage.

Here is the fact check of the other PMM ad:

    In a new 15-second ad, Protect Marriage Maine tries to stoke fear among voters by misstating the circumstances of the case of the Wildflower Inn in Vermont.

    Jim and Mary O’Reilly, owners of the inn, appear in the ad and claim that they were sued by a lesbian couple for “not supporting their gay wedding because of our Christian beliefs.”

    The Baltimore Sun investigated the claim and found that the case was based on Vermont’s non-discrimination laws and had nothing to do with the question of whether voters should approve marriage for same-sex couples.

    Here are the details from the Sun: In 2011, a lesbian couple tried to book the Wildflower Inn for their wedding reception, but an employee informed them that the venue did not host gay receptions due to the innkeepers’ “personal feelings.” The couple sued under Vermont’s public accommodations law, which prohibits hotels, restaurants and other such businesses from discriminating based on sexual orientation, race and other factors. The O’Reillys settled out of court, and their attorney later said that the employee had acted without the owners’ permission and had misstated the inn’s policy, which was to host gay receptions but to disclose the O’Reillys’ views to potential guests.

    “Maine voters affirmed our state’s anti-discrimination laws in 2005 by popular vote. Our opponents are trying to scare voters into thinking there will be ‘consequences’ or ‘collateral damage’ if loving, committed couples are allowed to marry. It’s just not true,” said Matt McTighe, campaign manager for Mainers United for Marriage. “The case in Vermont was about a business failing to follow the law.”

Gee, that last sounds awfully familiar

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