Bishop Vicky Gene Robinson was the first openly gay bishop to be elected in the Episcopalian Church. On New Year’s Day 2010, he married his longtime partner, and now, he is wading into the issue in Maine, where voters will be deciding whether or not to legalize same-sex marriage via a ballot initiative this November. Robinson will be going to Maine in order to campaign.
He will be appearing at three screenings of a film detailing his life and his struggles to be accepted within the Episcopalian Church. Maine is the second state to have screenings of “Love Free or Die” in connection to marriage equality.
Robinson has expressed his confidence that Maine will not be the same as North Carolina. He stated that “I have the feeling there’s a real momentum building for marriage equality in Maine, and that makes me very happy.”
Maine and Rhode Island are the only two states that do not have same-sex marriage in the North East. New Hampshire Republicans abandoned attempts to overturn their marriage equality law when it became clear that they were going to be unable to overturn a veto. New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut all have same-sex marriage.
Robinson is hopeful that his visit will prompt a conversation about same-sex marriage. Robinson stated “I think it will be not too far in the future that we will look back on this the same way we look back on laws that prohibited people of different races from being married or how we look back at slavery. All those things over time have so clearly been on the right side of history, and future generations will wonder how good, faithful, responsible people could ever have favored marriage discrimination.”
Of course, those opposed to equality are far from happy about Robinson’s decision to be a part of the campaign. Bob Emrich of Protect Marriage (Bigotry) Maine stated “What they’re doing is using a man who’s denied the historical faith of his church and disrupted that whole denomination to serve his own personal purposes, and they’re using him as a spokesman for their cause. I would have a great deal more respect for a man who chose to leave the church if he disagreed with its teachings rather than cause so much division.”
Emrich is a pastor who denies the word of Christ, whose words made it clear that the laws of Leviticus were no longer in force and who said nothing about homosexuality. Emrich relies upon Leviticus and the words of a man who spent twelve years learning his Christianity from an illiterate slave.
Paul Madore, chairman of No Special Rights PAC which also opposes the referendum, stated “I think it’s a wake-up call to people living in Maine to take this matter seriously and say no to special rights and no to same-sex marriage.” Madore wants to protect the special rights of heterosexual couples by denying marriage to same-sex couples and does not grasp that equal rights does not mean special rights, but rather what he is pushing is special rights for straights.
Still, Matt McTighe, the campaign manager for Mainers United For Marriage which is at the forefront of the campaign to make marriage equal and get rid of special rights for some, stated about Robinson that he is “He’s passionate about the freedom to marry and the work we’re doing here in Maine.”