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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR – 10/5

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Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2012 11:11 am | Updated: 1:15 pm, Thu Oct 4, 2012.

A religious issue

As a minister for 10 years in Sanford, people wonder why I am working so hard for same sex marriage in Maine. They think it is about my desire to marry couples in my congregation or host weddings in the beautiful Unitarian Universalist Church. But it is not.

It is more about funerals than weddings. It’s about the lives that are shattered when a couple dies and they do not have a legal contract that binds them together. It’s about grumpy families of origin, who come and claim custody of estranged grandchildren, or who claim the rights to their children’s home and money, leaving their partners with nothing but grief and exponential loss. It is about a person who is left behind with no pension benefits, Social Security or insurance. It’s about families who have claimed the body of their loved one, planned a funeral and burial and excluded the lifelong partner.

I began my work around marriage for same sex couples a long time ago when a friend died and his church (my church at the time,) the Catholic Church, where he had been baptized and confirmed, would not give him a funeral or recognize his partner as his next of kin. So if you think the issue of marriage equality does not belong in church; it is already there. Advocating for marriage for same sex couples is a religious issue. It is about love, inclusion and non-judgment. It’s about the greatest commandment that Jesus issued, to “Love one another, as I have loved you,” and the Golden Rule that appears in every major religion and challenges us to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” As a person faith and clergy member, I am voting yes on 1.

Rev. Sue Gabrielson

Minister, Sanford Unitarian Universalist Church

Voice, stature needed

Given the number of years that John Tuttle has served the people of Sanford and York County, it would be difficult to enumerate the number and kinds of service that he has rendered both in Sanford and Augusta. However, we would like to mention a few.

For those of us who appreciate that there is finally a national veterans’ cemetery in southern Maine, we all have to thank John, a veteran himself, for sponsoring the original legislation. We know of a number of families who have had loved ones already interred there in Springvale.

John has also been a friend to Camp Waban and was recognized in 2009 as Legislator of the Year by the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council. This followed his citation for service to the disabled by the Maine Ambulance Association in 2006.

The reason for John’s continued support through the years has been his accessibility to the voters. He is always there when citizens need a voice and a problem-solver for them.

However, one of John’s strongest assets in 2012, we feel, is his stature in Augusta, where he has a reputation for both legislative knowledge and experience. He has forged many contacts with people on both sides of the political aisle. At a time when national right-wing groups have been taking control over the state of Maine’s political agenda, it is imperative that we elect a known, but not partisan, Democrat to the state Senate. His unique strengths are needed in order to give a proper balance to our state’s legislature.

We treasure our friendship with John and his family and strongly endorse his candidacy for election to the state Senate in the 3rd Maine senatorial district. York County needs his voice and stature in Augusta. He deserves your vote.

Fred and Barbara Boyle

Springvale

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