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Courage Campaign and allies meet with Sen. Collins, deliver signatures

DOMA Repeal

By Adam Bink

Today in Maine, we’re delivering thousands of signatures to Sen. Collins and meeting with her and her staff to discuss repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. While Sen. Collins hasn’t been an outspoken champion of equality, she has taken significant steps to supporting the LGBT community, and we hope she’ll consider the hardships her constituents are suffering in Maine as a result of DOMA.

Our release is below.

Groups Deliver Over 2,000 Signatures Urging Senator Collins to Repeal DOMA

12/13/2011

(Washington D.C., December 13, 2011) – Today, six state and national organizations delivered more than 2,000 signatures urging Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) to become the 32nd sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, the bill that would repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The groups collected the signatures through an online campaign, part of an ongoing effort to increase the numbers of cosponsors of the Respect for Marriage Act in Congress.

The organizations, which include Freedom to Marry, Courage Campaign, EqualityMaine, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, and the Maine Women’s Lobby, released the following joint statement:

“Senator Collins has served often as a voice for gay and lesbian people throughout her time in office, but she has yet to join 31 of her fellow Senators as a cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act. Thousands of loving and committed gay and lesbian couples reside in Maine—many of whom are legally married and need Senator Collins’ support now more than ever to ensure the crucial safety-net of protections that come with federal recognition of their marriage. We urge her to listen to her constituents and stand up for Maine families by supporting the Respect for Marriage Act.”

The letters were delivered personally on Tuesday to Senator Collins’ office in Portland by gay and lesbian couples who reside in the state and are harmed by DOMA. Joseph Stackpole, 67, and his partner Richard, 69, have been together for 15 years and reside in Old Orchard Beach. Nicole and Nancy Jedrey-Irvin live with their ten-year-old son Carter in Durham. Both couples were legally married in Massachusetts. Suzanne Blackburn and her partner Joanie live in Maine and have a domestic partnership, but are waiting to get married until they can do so in Maine. Joseph, Nicole, Nancy, and Suzanne all participated in delivering the letters and meeting with staff members of Senator Collins’ office.

Senator Collins voted against constitutional amendments in 2004 and 2006 that would have banned marriages for gay and lesbian couples. Last year, she and Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) sponsored the bill that repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which prevented gay and lesbian people from openly serving in the military. Just last month, she and Senator Lieberman reintroduced the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, which would ensure benefits to domestic partners of federal employees. She has been honored by the Log Cabin Republicans and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund in the past for her commitment to equality for gay and lesbian people.

Currently, there are a record number of supporters in both the House, where the bill has 134 sponsors, and in the Senate, with 31 sponsors, including every Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which voted in November to advance the Respect for Marriage Act to the full Senate.

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8 Comments

  • 1. Sagesse  |  December 13, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    @

  • 2. David Henderson  |  December 13, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Were the Log Cabin Republicans contacted about joining this coalition to petition her?

  • 3. Rich  |  December 13, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Most recent posts on the NOM blog site: they're in desperation mode and running out of money. The weight of the movement towards marriage equality is swallowing them up and they can't keep up; this, according to Brian Brown.

    Another sign of desperation. They will not allow ANY posts that counter their belief that Cooper et al were stellar in their attempts to repeal Judge Walker's ruling due to a conflict of interest. I have tried repeatedly to post the response (paraphrase) of Cooper that it has never been the case that Prop 8 defendants claimed that a gay marriage would, in any way, diminish, redefine, ruin a straight marriage. This comment of his, in my opinion, is critical to the underpinning of their whole argument and, I believe, could not have been missed by the three Judges on the 9th circuit panel.

  • 4. Str8Grandmother  |  December 13, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    I agree with you Rich, I htink that statement that Cooper made is going to show up in the next appeal to the US Supreme Court. I do not recall him ever saying that before in this way. I was flabbergasted when he said it in open court. I remember during the lower court case trial Cooper danced around it (how it harms a hetro couples marriage) and he just kept coming back that it would hurt the institution of marriage. But he did not say flat out, like he did during the appeals arguments, that no straight marriage would be affected.

    I might be crazy but I think they are going to issue their opinion lightning fast. I though maybe 10 days but at least before Christmas. I know I am in a small minority one who thinks this way but that is what I think. Their ruling is also going to hammer away that they looked at the evidence, and there is no evidence I bet. I would not surprise me if the 3 Judges in their opinion quoted Cooper from the appeals hearing about how opening up marriage to couples of the same sex does not affect opposite sex couples. Wouldn't surprise me a bit if they had that in their opinion.

  • 5. Rich  |  December 13, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Totally agree Str8Grandmother…and, this is funny and pathetic…just checked the NOM site where there are two response posts to "Pat", a marriage equality supporter. The two bloggers rip into Pat but, lo and behold, the NOM post-police have removed Pat's post. How ridiculous (and embarrassing for NOM) is that?

  • 6. Bob  |  December 13, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    hmmm wonder if there is any connecton to the Pat, that was banned from this blog??????????????????

  • 7. Deeelaaach  |  December 13, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    This only emphasizes how much our opponents listen to themselves in the echo chamber. Echo… echo… echo…

  • 8. Str8Grandmother  |  December 14, 2011 at 5:28 am

    Bob must be a different Pat cuz Rich said the Pat commenting on NOM's blog = ""Pat", a marriage equality supporter. "

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