A Public Vote

Portland, Maine.

A state drawing battle lines for the definition of marriage.

My latest bit of travel was fairly interesting, to say the least. It started out in Maine covering Gay Marriage, and ended in Fort Hood, TX, covering tragedy. I’m going to write two separate posts, one on my trip to Maine, and one on the tragedy at Fort Hood.

Originally a quick two day trip, our mission was to head to Portland, ME and cover the citizen’s vote to uphold legislation that legalizes gay marriage. The state legalized gay marriage using state passed legislation, but the public demanded a vote instead. This vote would either uphold the current law (keeping gay marriage legal), or turn it down (making it illegal). Millions of dollars went into both campaigns: commercials, radio spots, billboards, signs and stickers. In the end the vote was won by citizens who wanted to do away with the current law (which wasn’t even in effect yet), successfully ending the possibility of gay marriage in Maine.

I found myself in a ballroom at the Easton Hotel, embedded with the camp of people who wanted the legislation to stand, the people that wanted to keep gay marriage legal. Wet bars were on both sides of the room, projectors flashed up the latest vote count on big screens at the front of the ballroom, and people excitedly watched as different counties in Maine started to report their numbers. Lesbian and gay couples held hands, talked with other couples, and quietly watched the screens with hope. As the night dragged on, the pro-gay marriage camp watched their numbers slowly fall as the votes to make it illegal started gaining ground. By 1:00AM, they had officially declared a loss…

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