Friday, May 8, 2009

An unpleasant subject for me

In 2004 I was suspended with pay for a month after apologizing for something I wrote in an email. I promised to reveal the sexual orientation of everyone in the State House. Horrors. The Senate's business was interrupted for a day, many members donning pink triangles. By the end of the day they had prepared and signed a letter condemning me. That is much the same Senate that just created genderless marriage last week. You'll have to forgive me for not getting more exercised over the Legislature's shenanigans over the past few months.

I was reviewing those days in March of 2004 because of a news item on the internet this morning. It is from something called "Box Turtle." I don't know what that is. I received this in an email:

If this were a bill without opposition, it would come into effect 90 days after the end of the legislative session. However Michael Heath, executive director of the Maine Family Policy Council, has already announced that he will seek a “people’s veto” of the legislation.

A people’s veto works like this: After the end of the legislative session (probably some time in June), Heath can begin collecting signatures. He needs 10% of the last gubernatorial vote, or 55,087 valid signatures. If Heath gets enough signatures, the bill will not go into effect until it has been presented on the November ballot for an up or down vote. Yes means keep the bill, No means veto it.

Although Heath will have 90 days to collect signatures, he must present the signatures no later than 60 days before the vote, around September 3rd. Thus, may be a strange window in which signatures can be collected but in which they will not count towards forcing a vote.

Which raises a question. Were Heath to present signatures on, say, September 5 and were that day within 90 days of the end of the legislative session, would that place a stay on the enactment of the bill until the following election in the spring of 2010? While that might be a “dirty trick” that could momentarily work in Heath’s favor, it may in the long run prove to be detrimental. As time goes by, it is increasingly likely that attitudes in Maine will favor equality. This will be especially true as no dire consequences result in Vermont, Connecticut, or Massachusetts. Heath’s window of possible success may close.

As it is, Heath may have a rough go. Attitudes seem fairly even in Maine but Heath has a rather bad reputation in the state dating from his attempts to identify and out gay legislators. His requests for “tips, rumors, speculation and facts” resulted in a temporary ouster from the Christian Civic League (a previous name of the Maine Family Policy Council) and a significant amount of bad press.

Heath may well be an advantage for us. He tends towards extremism and outrageous hyperbole. Additionally, it looks as though Peter LaBarbera may be a part of the effort.
It is interesting to see that 2004 incident still being kicked around like a battered old can. Here is a news article that was published this month where I offered some thoughts on the outing incident.

As to the observation that I will "be an advantage for us" that, of course, remains to be seen. The "tending toward extremism and outrageous hyperbole" comment is mundane. What I've usually found this means in "gay speak" is quoting the Bible or talking in plain moral terms about homosexuality. That is "extremism and outrageous hyperbole."

I suspect that calling homosexuality an abomination probably fits into their definition of "outrageous hyperbole." That makes all Bible-believing Christians ... Protestants ... outrageously hyperbolic. Without, hopefully, being too extreme, I'd say that's a bit of a stretch.

Regarding 2004, the Kennebec Journal and her sister paper, the Portland Press Herald drove that story. I overreacted to their questioning by apologizing too quickly. My board and I should have taken some time to reflect on the email, and the incident. Live and learn.

An interesting tidbit is that I was publicly suspended for a month. During the week of my scheduled return to duties, maybe on the day (I can't remember now), the Kennebec Journal published a glowing front page story about the influence and power of Maine's most prominent lesbian lobbyist, Betsy Sweet. They didn't, of course, mention how deeply devoted she is to that issue, just as every single politician who voted on marriage this week didn't talk about the real story behind the gay rights push during their campaigns. Interesting how this isn't an issue during the campaigns, yet everyone now admits it will define the Legislature in the history books.

The media is pathetic. Sad to say we don't have a free and objective press in this country anymore. We do have the internet though. And that is certainly changing things.

You know -- now that I think about it -- it was really sweet to observe how "in bed" the media is with homosexual ideology in April of 2004.

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