To the gay community, in Maine and in all of America:
I apologize for my state. I apologize for the groundless fear that apparently still lives in so many of us: fear of what isn’t like us, fear of what we don’t understand or were taught is wrong, or never gave enough thought to. I’m sorry that there are still people living here who believe that those who are different are a threat to be put down and hidden away. I am sorry that the ignorance of the majority and the deliberate and very loud malice of a certain few has resulted in a terrible mistake: that somehow, a mere 52% of 50% of the registered voters in Maine have chosen to not only believe in their hearts that you are less than they are, but to deny you the same rights as they enjoy.
Most of all, I apologize for our federal government.
I am sorry that it doesn’t slough off the criticisms of the prejudiced and stand up for you– because this should never have been an issue brought to a popular vote. We don’t get to apply majority rules to civil rights, and somehow, through the bigotry of some people and the cowardice of others, we have allowed that to happen. The days when the word marriage had nothing but a religious connotation are long gone, if, in fact, they ever existed at all. Now marriage means the ability to raise a child together without fear of challenge to your parenthood; it means you can sit by the bed of your partner in a hospital without worrying that someone will tell you you’re not allowed to. It’s taxes, and health benefits, retirement, social security. At its heart, it’s a social recognition of your commitment to one another, and it is your right, as citizens of this country, a right as inalienable as the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I am sorry that the blindness and the ignorance we saw win in my state this Tuesday are so obviously echoed –and encouraged– by some of the people we elected to protect the very rights that they’ve chosen to deny you, and to uphold the very principles they’ve violated by that denial. And I am sorry, so sorry, that those in power who do not believe that there are different classes of citizenship based on personal attributes did not have the courage to stand up for you. I voted some of these people into power myself.
I also voted on Tuesday. I could tell myself that’s enough, that I did my part– but it’s clearly not enough. There’s more to do. All I can say is that the fight isn’t over, sorry is not enough, and one day we shall overcome.