As Maine goes…

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dominoes.jpeg…so goes the nation, according to the old saw. All the same-sex marriage dominoes in New England have fallen except New Hampshire and Rhode Island, and the former is teetering. (As in California but not elsewhere in the region, a popular referendum–known as a “people’s veto”–could reverse the decision made in Augusta.) Here are the relevant quotes from Gov. John Baldacci, whose support for the legislation had been anything but assured. The NYT’s Abby Goodnough caught up with him as follows:

“It’s not the way I was raised and it’s not the way that I am,” the
governor said in a telephone interview. “But at the same time I have a
responsibility to uphold the Constitution. That’s my job, and you can’t
allow discrimination to stand when it’s raised to your level.”

“Just as the Maine Constitution demands that all people are treated
equally under the law, it also guarantees that the ultimate political
power in the State belongs to the people,” he said. “While the good and
just people of Maine may determine this issue, my responsibility is to
uphold the Constitution and do, as best as possible, what is right. I
believe that signing this legislation is the right thing to do.”

The gov’s explanation tends to undermine Goognough’s explanation for the regional embrace of what its proponents now call “marriage equality.” Goodnough writes: “The region’s strong libertarian bent helps explain why the issue has found support.” On the contrary, it’s the regional commitment to equal treatment, to equality, that (in my view) explains what’s going on. Annual town meetings are the classic form of regional government, where all citizens meet and get to have their say on equal terms. Libertarianism is something else.