Equality Maine fights for same-sex marriage
Lindsay Roberts ’13 is gearing up for the upcoming decision in November, which will determine the legality of same-sex marriage in Maine. Roberts recently began interning at Equality Maine, an organization that advocates for equal social and legal treatment of gays and lesbians.
Along with her young and upbeat colleagues, Roberts walks door-to-door and calls upon Mainers in the attempt to persuade them to vote “yes” on question one in favor of same-sex marriage.
So far, Roberts has managed to convert one caller to change his stance on same-sex marriage, but Equality Maine’s campaign has already convinced 12,000 voters to agree with their mission. Now finished with the persuasion stage of the campaign, the organization has moved on to the retention phase. As November approaches, Roberts will pour her efforts into keeping voters aligned with Equality Maine’s views.
Roberts believes that same-sex marriage is an inalienable right based on love. Though a study by UCLA in 2009 predicted that same-sex marriages would result in an increase in state revenues of $60 million dollars over a span of three years, Roberts fights emphatically for social equality regardless of possible economic impacts. On a personal note, she hopes to one day see her aunt and her aunt’s significant other of 18 years married. “If I’m with this person and I love this person, why can’t that be recognized?” Roberts said, a firm believer that same-sex couples are as committed in relationships as heterosexuals.
Determined in her efforts, Roberts has been working with residents in Augusta and surrounding regions, along with students at the College, to bring about change. Teaming up with the Bridge, a club whose mission is to make the campus an accepting place for people of all sexual orientations, is an integral part of Roberts’ success on the Hill. With the help of the Bridge, Roberts will host phone marathons on Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with like-minded volunteers from the campus community. Her experience will also aid new interns of Equality Maine, such as Madeline Hunsicker ’15.
The interns’ work talking to voters has helped put Maine on the path to passing the new legislation. With an average of 54 percent to 57 percent of Mainers in support of the decision and a national president who openly supports gay marriage, Maine could become the sixth state to accept same-sex marriage.
Roberts feels that people have come a long way since 2009, when opponents of same-sex marriage successfully petitioned against Governor Baldacci’s marriage equality bill.
Though the opposition still exists, they do not have as big of a presence as Equality Maine and its many volunteers. “I think that we found a lot of support where we don’t expect it. It’s a nonpartisan campaign, but there is something really heart-warming about calling an 80 year-old Republican who is totally in support of it,” Roberts said. Whatever the present sentiment for the vote, Roberts still fights on the side of the underdog. Only the November ballot will reveal the true progress of Equality Maine’s hard work.