By Innes Herdan – President
Some UMF students are working diligently to promote marriage equality in Maine following a launch for the Yes on 1 campaign.
Mainers United for Marriage is the actual name of the Yes on 1 campaign, which is “working in support of the legalization of same-sex civil marriage in the state of Maine,” said Kylie Groat, a junior at UMF and a Mainers United for Marriage volunteer.
Question 1 on the November ballot will read: “Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?” said Groat.
“When I came to college, I had the opportunity to meet a lot of different, wonderful people–many of whom happen to be gay—and many of whom dream just as I do of one day meeting a person to whom they want to commit their life. Personally, I’ve just never been able to make myself believe that anyone could be wrong to want such things, or that marriage had to be anything more than two people who want to spend their lives loving & serving each other, bringing out the best in each other,” said Groat.
Molly Reed, an Elementary Education major, has been working with the campaign on campus for the past few weeks. As part of getting involved with Mainers United for Marriage, Reed said she has been “a part of the phone banks,” and will aid in data entry.
“I really believe in equal rights for everyone…and with so many horrible things going on in the world, it is sad to me that people are denied to marry who they love,” said Reed. With any campaign, making it successful is a matter of dedication of time, patience, and a group of people who share a common belief towards what the campaign is about.
“Mainers United is encouraging Maine to vote YES on Question 1 this year, allowing committed same-sex couples all of the 1138 rights & benefits that any other couple gets when they enter into marriage…[for instance,] hospital visitation, naming a partner next of kin, insurance & tax partnership, and allowing a partner to make medical decisions for one who can’t,” said Groat.
The Yes on 1 campaign launched for UMF in September in the North Dining Hall of Olsen Student Center marking a significant step in the campaign for same-sex marriage equality in Maine.
The campaign launch was run by a UMF alumna, Nicole Moreau, who is also the UMF campaign organizer. During the weeks before Election Day, “the campaign’s goal is to strengthen the support of those who could be vulnerable to the opposition,” said Moreau. In the past 18 months the campaign has done a variety of techniques to make Yes on 1 win the vote. Volunteers, advocates, and employees have had 155,000 one on one conversation with Mainers, as well as knocked on 250,000 doors in Maine. The campaign has also run the commercial “The Gardner Family” on television, which aired during the Olympics.
The campaign’s ultimate goal on the UMF campus “is to get students to vote, and involved in any way possible,” said Moreau.
In 2009 when same-sex marriage was repealed Farmington voted in favor of the campaign, while Franklin County was more in favor of the opposition, recalled Moreau. To win Franklin County, the campaign needs at least 300 students to vote early by mail through absentee ballots, she said.