A parallel can be drawn between Sen. Olympia Snowe’s announcement of early retirement and the dismaying article of March 9 headlined “Bruising fight over gay marriage expected in Maine.”

Snowe was worn down by the pervasive “my way or the highway” mentality, similar to what Maine is experiencing with gay rights.

Many voters see the gay rights question as two separate issues: Legal equality and redefining marriage.

The latter is a deal-breaker for those of us favoring a moderate solution. While I would unhesitatingly vote for legal equity and family security, the heart of the issue, I have never found any practical or compelling reasons to redirect society regarding the definition of marriage. Respectfully, assessing the ongoing debate has always led me to the same conclusions:

* The dignity and respect of marriage invoked by gay couples are first and foremost earned and available to all despite status.

* Are civil unions exclusionary or simply a natural part of gay diversity? I don’t believe it would make a family any less loving and committed.

* Concern for children whose parents are bound by a name other than marriage pales in comparison with the burdens of many families.

* If the legalities of civil unions are not on par with marriage, let’s fix that. It’s difficult to accept that task as insurmountable.

Another bruising, winner-take-all battle would continue the simmering resentment. A compromise would greatly narrow the divide and promote accord.

Jane Mower

Manchester


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