The recent article about some Republicans rethinking same-sex marriage gives us a glimpse behind the scenes at this party’s current leadership, its ideology and its direction.

Rep. Stacey Fitts, R-Pittsfield, describes “the pressure to vote against same-sex marriage” as opposed to ultimately voting his conscience.

The Rev. Bob Emrich, referring to Fitts and his colleagues at the press conference, states “There are no leaders in that group.” Good for them.

The current leadership of the Maine Republican Party seems to have changed the state motto to (pardon my Latin, it has been close to 50 years) Dirigo Retrosum: “I lead backwards.”

Everyone reading this letter knows someone in their circle of family, friends, colleagues or other acquaintances who is gay. If they don’t know them as gay, it is because they do not dare to share this part of themselves. They are no different from us, except some must hide who they truly are because of prejudice.

This is repression. This is oppression. This is not freedom. This is not liberty. This is not what America is about.

At the end of the day, what these friends, neighbors, relatives, colleagues want is to live the same lives with someone they love, that the rest of us enjoy. This seems little to ask in a democratic society.

This is not just a civil rights issue, it is The Civil Rights Issue of our time.

There is a space in our political discourse for fiscal responsibility and respect for those who are different. Responsible Maine citizens, from either party, can regain leadership of this state and we can proudly reclaim our motto, Dirigo — “I Lead,” if we reclaim that political space.

Roger A. Renfrew

Skowhegan

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