What does it mean to protect religious freedoms? In the beginning of the campaign against marriage equality in Maine, we already have heard this term used by people who want to deny Maine’s loving, committed gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.

We will keep hearing this fall that marriage equality is an attack on religious freedom. The opposite is true.

Some religious denominations do not marry same-sex couples. Yet my religion — Conservative Judaism — has decided to marry same-sex couples in marriage ceremonies. Unitarian Universalist and Quaker churches marry same-sex couples.

Maine law as now written denies all these religions the opportunity to follow their faith. As I listen to people talking about religious freedom, I realize that some of them are talking about the right of some people to impose their religious beliefs on others.

Now Maine’s secretary of state has decided to change the wording of Maine’s marriage equality referendum. The proposed marriage equality law guarantees religious freedom by making it clear that no church or other religious organization would have to marry same-sex couples. The proposed law extends the right to only a civil marriage at a town or city hall to all consenting adult couples in Maine.

Why would Charlie Summers change the wording of the referendum question to hide the proposed law’s protection for religious freedom? I can only conclude that removing these words may make it easier to mislead voters. Please don’t be fooled. Please stand on the side of love this fall.

Stan Davis


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