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04/27/2012

Maine's 'marriage protectors' fighting publicly; anyone else want popcorn?

by Jeremy Hooper

In 2009, I kept mentioning something about the state of Maine that I found as compelling as it was telling. During the spring and summer before that fall's marriage vote, I kept noticing the way the "official" campaign was trying to hide Mike Heath, the way-incendiary voice who had been fighting gays in the state for more than a decade prior, and who had been feted by the Family Research Council just weeks before being cast off. I mentioned the forced exclusion countless times, because I thought it (a) showed great cowardice on the part of the NOM/Schubert Flint team that swept in and took over a state to which they had no connections; as well as (b) told us much about our opposition and how they have no problem using hostile voices to build up momentum for a campaign, yet will unabashedly throw those same voices under the bus when the bright lights of a campaign roll around.

At the time, some connected voices confirmed my suspicions, though most on both the "official" side and in Mike Heath's camp played nice and stayed on message. Since they "won" that campaign, it was as if all involved were basically willing to let bygones be bygones, at least publicly.

Well not anymore. Now that we on the equality side are going back to the ballot, this time proactively, there is a great war brewing Mike Heath's all-out anti-gay side and the "official," more purposely pragmatic NOM/Bob Emrich crowd. And because of this power struggle, Heath is now confirming what I always knew to be true:

Lewiston -- Mike Heath and Paul Madore are concerned about a new political action committee called "Protect Marriage Maine." An article published on a blog called "Catholic Maine" indicates the PAC was announced on April 23, 2012 and formed on April 20th. The article reports that the Protect Marriage Maine PAC will "lead the campaign" against sodomy based "marriage."

"They're a little late," said Paul Madore, co-chair of the No Special Rights PAC. "We got started years ago and haven't heard boo from them."

The executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, Carroll Conley, promised to organize a "broad and deep campaign across the state of Maine." Pastor Bob Emrich, the Chairman of the Protect Marriage Maine PAC promised to work with Muslims.

Mike Heath couldn't help but observe the irony in Emrich's promise to organize the "entire community of faith." In 2009 he refused to work with Heath claiming that Heath couldn't be trusted. Heath was then the leader of the Christian Civic League of Maine.

"He'll work with Maine's Muslims but not with us?" said Heath. "While we are eager to work with anyone who will fight sodomy based 'marriage' -- including Muslims -- we wonder why Reverend Emrich willfully excludes us."

Heath and Madore are not surprised by this power grab by the monied interests in the pro family movement. They expected it, and will not allow it to deter them in their effort to win this campaign.
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Heath and Madore Respond to Exclusive Claim to Leadership by Pro Family Groups [No Special Rights PAC]

Now, the first thing I should say is that even the distinction between Heath and Emrich is minor. Emrich—who works with FRC and who once pushed a piece in favor of the heinous Uganda law—is a *MAJOR* "ex-gay" supporter who has confirmed his desire to "change" us on several occasions. Just this week, he posted an hour-long speech in which a pastor railed on about gays having a "perverse lifestyle" from which they much be "saved." So don't be fooled—the only real difference 201204270909between Heath and Emrich is that the latter is willing to stay on whatever message NOM and Co. have workshopped; Mike "sodomy marriage" Heath is not willing.

I say: Heath is right on this point. He and his brother in saying-revelatory-things-that-don't-poll-well, Paul Madore, got here first. I saw that not only in terms of this latest pro-equality campaign, which the duo came out against weeks ago, but also in terms of Maine's LGBT fight in general. Mike Heath—working *with* folks like Bob Emrich and Charla Bansley (see left), who have since been folded into the NOM mix—was fighting gays in Maine back when Brian Brown was still in college and Maggie Gallagher was much more concerned about the contents of Murphy Brown's womb than she was with gays and marriage. So how can NOM swoop in now and say, "No, no—he doesn't represent the 'brand'"? That's offensive to 'mo and 'mo foe alike!

Mainers should know what Mike Heath wants them to know, not only what NOM and Co. think will better the "protect marriage" side's chances at the polls in this blue state. I, for one, will gladly spend another spring-summer-fall making sure Heath's message (and Emrich's *true* message) gets out there!

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