Community Conversations

Please click on one of the dates to join us for a series of Community Conversations: 

Sunday, Dec 6 - Augusta
Monday, Dec 7 - Ogunquit 
Tuesday, Dec 8 - Ellsworth
Thursday, Dec 10 - Bangor
Tuesday, Dec 15 - Lewiston*
Wed, Dec 16 - Portland**

* Note: The Lewiston / Auburn Community Coversation was originally scheduled for Wednesday, Dec 10 but due to the massive snowstorm it has been rescheduled for Tuesday, December 15. 

**Note: The Portland Community Conversation was previously scheduled for Tuesday, Dec 15 but is being rescheduled to accommodate for the Downeast Pride Alliance event the same night.  

Why Marriage Matters

Over 300 Maine state laws provide automatic legal protections and responsibilities for married couples. Even when same-sex couples take exhaustive (and often expensive) steps to protect themselves and their families by constructing wills, health care proxies and co-parent adoptions, they cannot come close to duplicating the protections that only civil marriage brings.

In addition to legal protections, marriage conveys respect and dignity for one's family that no other recognition does. When a couple says they're married, there's an understanding that they're a loving and committed couple, that they provide a stable and supportive home for their children, and that they've committed to caring for each other for a lifetime.

Marriage equality would make thousands of Maine couples and their children better off, without infringing on anyone's freedom of religion.

Below are just some of the protections that married people automatically receive through their places of employment:

  • In most Maine workplaces, married people can take bereavement leave for the death of a spouse or a spouse’s relative. With the exception of state employees and state university employees, most gay and lesbian workers cannot take bereavement leave for the death of their partners or a member of a partner’s family.
  • Maine’s Family Care law does not allow a gay or lesbian employee to use accrued sick, vacation and comp time to care for a same-sex partner, because the partner is not a married spouse.
  • If an employee suffers a job-related injury or death, the same-sex partner is not entitled to any protections under the worker’s compensation system – even if that partner was financially dependent on the injured worker.
  • Unlike married couples, gay and lesbian employees cannot select a "joint and survivor annuity" option in their defined benefit plan to provide for their partners in the event of their death.
  • Because they do not have the option of filing jointly, some same-sex couples may pay more state taxes than their married friends.
  • Married workers who contribute to the retirement system can establish two separate survivor benefits in case of death before retirement: one for a surviving spouse and one for dependent children. Unmarried same-sex couples cannot. So a partner designated as a beneficiary must choose between survivor benefits for herself or the dependent children.
  • If an employee is killed on the job due to employer negligence, his or her same-sex partner cannot bring legal action against the employer. A married spouse can.
  • Only marriage confers the intangible benefit of recognition as a family. Marriage is arguably our most important civic institution, and excluding same-sex couples from this institution -- or creating so-called "separate but equal" institutions, like civil unions and domestic partnerships -- marks them and their children as less worthy than other citizens. That second-class status can never be changed with piecemeal legal arrangements.

 

Marriage Equality by State

Marriage Equality in Maine

 

EqualityMaine at 25

This year, EqualityMaine celebrated 25 years of progress for Maine's LGBT community. Check out our 25th anniversary celebration video.

Sign Up for Updates