As states across the nation continue to add homosexual marriage to officially recognized unions, gay couples living in other regions have in turn traveled across state lines to circumvent their own laws.
This trend seems to have affected Maine disproportionately, according to a recent report by the Main Office of Data, Research, and Vital Statistics. Homosexual marriages accounted for 1,530 of the state’s weddings last year, the study found, representing a full 16 percent of overall ceremonies.
While the percentage of self-described homosexuals remains in the low single-digits in America, about one in six 2013 marriages in the northeastern state were to same-sex couples. Furthermore, that number does not include couples who were married elsewhere and have since assumed residency in Maine.
Despite the high percentage, some gay activists believe there should have been even more same-sex marriages conducted in the state. According to Bev Uhlenhake, one half of a lesbian couple that married last year in Maine, the total “seems low.”
She said she “would have expected a higher ratio,” but celebrated the fact that there are “1,500 families that are more protected than they were before.”
While her personal proclivity naturally makes Uhlenhake more sensitive to the marriage debate, a number of clergy members have also joined in the effort to expedite homosexual unions.
Unitarian Rev. Becky Gunn made a promise that she would conduct no further marriages of any kind until two men or two women could experience the same ceremony. She said anything less “diminished the love between two same-sex partners,” explaining she and others “fought long and hard to get this passed and I see only positive things coming from it.”
Of course, plenty of traditional Americans vehemently disagree. State Sen. David Burns, for example, is fighting to protect the religious liberty of those who believe homosexual marriage is an abomination.
He described his proposed bill, An Act to Protect Religious Freedom, as “an effort to enshrine what I feel the Maine and federal constitutions provide for.”
Burns said his mission was to “take out the stuff that people find objectionable and controversial” from the marriage law.
There seems to be little chance Maine’s law – and those of a growing number of other states – will be reversed. At this point, conservative advocates must remain focused on protecting faith-based and cultural objectors from having their freedoms curtailed in the advancement of the homosexual cause.
Photo credit: Philocrites (Creative Commons)