By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
The Diocese of Portland, Maine is among several groups that successfully collected the 55,000 signatures needed to place a People’s Veto on the 2009 ballot to prevent implementation of the state’s recent ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.
According to a report by the Catholic News Agency (CNA), it took the Diocese of Portland along with the Maine Jeremiah Project, the National Organization for Marriage and a number of other organizations and individuals only a month to collect the necessary number of signatures in favor of vetoing the ruling.
In the state of Maine, the pepole can exercise a “People’s Veto” to overturn legislation that has been passed into law. Opponents of a particular law must gather signatures of registered voters equal to 10 percent of those who voted in the last gubernatorial election. If verified, the veto measure is put on the next statewide ballot, with voters either upholding or repealing the law.
“In just four weeks, we’ve gathered more than 55,000 signatures from Mainers who believe they, not the legislature and governor, should have the final say on the definition of marriage,” said Marc Mutty, chairman of the coalition supporting the ballot proposal and Public Affairs Director for the Catholic Diocese of Portland.
“There has been an extraordinary outpouring of support from voters across the state. This response gives us momentum that will lift us over the first hurdle of putting the issue before the people and, ultimately, carry us to victory in November.”
Bob Embrich, an executive committee member of Stand for Marriage Maine and founder of the Maine Jeremiah Project, said the speed with which the signatures were gathered suggested that Maine citizens want to restore marriage “to its historical and time-honored definition as between a man and a woman.”
“We look forward to submitting the measure for certification and engaging Mainers in a vigorous defense of marriage. Traditional marriage has never lost on the ballot in any state. We expect it to prevail in Maine.”
More signatures are being collected in the event that some are disqualified during the state’s certification process.
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