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Marriage Equality: Why it Is Critical You Passionately Care About Maine

One of the most important fights in the country over same-sex marriage is going on in Maine right now and you can help.

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The other reason Maine is so important is precedent. Same-sex marriage can now be legally performed in five U.S. states, six if you count Maine -- but in every one of those states, it was legalized by either the legislature or the courts. In the U.S., same-sex marriage has never, ever won at the ballot box. Ever. The right has always been able to use smears and scare tactics and even flat-out lies to keep voters from supporting same-sex marriage… tactics that are (marginally) less effective on judges and legislators than they are on voters.

If we win this one, it will be a huge precedent. The far right won't be able to say that the courts and legislatures are shoving same-sex marriage down the throats of the people. The people will have spoken. And they will have spoken for fairness and equality.

There's one more thing I want to point out before I finish up: This is a very winnable fight. The polls are very close on Prop 1... and as of this writing, we're slightly ahead. And the No on 1 organization is very, very good: they've been working on this issue for years, and they're already well-prepared to launch their opposition to the ugly attacks they know they'll be getting. They've already started doing education and what they call "inoculation" against the fear-mongering they know they're going to be facing. And Maine is, as the No on 1 organizers are fond of saying, a cheap date. It's a small state, and media buys and whatnot are a lot less expensive than they were in, say, California. We can win this one.

Okay. So now you passionately care about Maine. You get why supporting No on 1 is the biggest, most important thing you can do right now to support same-sex marriage -- not just for Maine, but for the rest of the country.

What can you do to help?

Talk1: Talk about it. We have to get this on the national radar now. If you're a blogger, blog about it. If you're a journalist, cover it. If you're a progressive activist, get it on the radar of progressive organizations and allies -- even ones that aren’t specifically focused on LGBT issues. And if you're a regular citizen, talk about it. Tweet it, Facebook it, shoot it to your email list, gas on about it at parties, bring it up with your family and friends. Explain about the momentum, and the precedent, and the winnability. Let other people know, not just that the fight is happening, but why it's such a big freakin' deal.

And do it now. Don't wait until right before the election. We don't want to make the mistake we made with Prop 8 (well, one of the mistakes): we don't want to spend the entire campaign playing defense. We need to help lay the groundwork now for a pro-active campaign. And in Maine, early voting starts in early October. If we wait until November to pitch in on this fight, we'll have waited too long. We have to get this on the national radar, now.

Piggy_bank_-_dollar2: Give money. It doesn't have to be a huge amount -- again, Maine is a cheap date, and small amounts can make a big difference -- but give what you can. (If everyone who reads this blog donated $25, that would be a decent-sized chunk of their budget.)

And do it now. Don't wait until right before the election. Early money is one of the most powerful tools that a political campaign can have. Political campaigns need to know early what their budget will be so they can plan accordingly; more to the point, media buys and other costly campaigning efforts have to be done early in order to be really effective. (See above, re: not screwing up and playing defense like we did with Prop 8.) And again, early voting in Maine starts in early October: if we wait until November, we'll have waited too long.

Helping_hands_43: Pitch in. The No on 1 campaign is doing something they're calling a Volunteer Vacation: if you fly yourself out to Maine, they'll put you up in community housing, and they'll train you on canvassing and phone banking and political campaigning generally -- training you'll be able to use, not just in this campaign, but in any campaign you decide to get involved with in the future. Plus you'll get to visit Maine in the fall, which is unbelievably gorgeous. (There are four one- week shifts available, from October 4 through November 1.)

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