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Churches to pass collection plate to fight marriage equality in Maine

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Churches across the state of Maine will pass the collection plate at Sunday services on Father’s Day to raise funds for the lead group opposing the state’s November ballot initiative that seeks to legalize same-sex marriage.

Between 150 and 200 churches are expected to raise money for the Protect Marriage Maine political action committee, said Carroll Conley Jr., executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine evangelical organization and a member of the PAC.

It’s unusual, but not unheard of, for churches to take up collections for political causes. Maine’s Catholic diocese says it raised about $80,000 with a designated collection in 2009 in its effort to overturn Maine’s same-sex marriage law, which was passed by the Legislature that year and later rejected by voters, reported the Associated Press.

The Catholic Church isn’t actively campaigning this time, instead focusing on teaching parishioners about the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.

Maine’s legislature passed a marriage equality law in 2009 to give same-sex couples the right to marry, but in a state-wide ballot referendum that echoed California’s Proposition 8, nearly 53 percent of Maine citizens voted against same-sex marriage, reversing the legislative decision before the law took effect.

Marriage equality advocates have since gathered the required number of verified signatures to put the issue back on the November 2012 ballot — if approved by voters, Maine could become the first state to approve same-sex marriage through a popular vote.

In fact, recent polling suggests that Maine voters are likely to reverse their 2009 decision and legalize same-sex marriage when the issue is once again considered at the ballot box later this year.

According to Public Policy Polling (PPP) in March, 54 percent of voters responded that same-sex marriage should be legal, while only 41 percent think it should be illegal.

In April, the Maine People’s Resource Center released the results of another public opinion poll of likely Maine 2012 voters, which showed support for marriage equality had increased to 58 percent, with opposition about 40 percent.

Conley said that Father’s Day, June 17, seemed an appropriate time to kick off this year’s fundraising campaign against the marriage equality measure because of the day’s focus on family.

Additional collection-plate offerings at churches are expected in the months ahead.

Earlier this week, the Maine Education Association voted to endorse the referendum on the November ballot that would allow same-sex couples in Maine to marry.

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66 more reader comments:

  1. Smashing! No really, it’s Smashing time for those plates. How greedy are they? Wanting money. -_-

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:39am
  2. surprised?

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:39am
  3. it doesn’t matter what they do cuz we wont give up

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:39am
  4. Well if they do. Then the Churches in Maine can start passing the collection plate around to start paying their fair share of income, state, and property tax then.

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:39am
  5. i am very optomistic that it will pass referendum in Maine and in MD marking the first to states that the people vote to allow marriage equality. Keep up the fight LGBT people. We WILL prevail!

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:39am
  6. Finally, educated people who aren’t closed minded to the lifestyle we’re all fighting for equal rites to.

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:39am
  7. Doesn’t this violate their 501.3 c status. As a non profit they cannot participate in political agendas.

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:40am
  8. (hope that came out right lol)

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:40am
  9. Seriously?????
    How about to fund an act of kindness?

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:41am
  10. Hmmm, maybe it’s time to pass the tax plate to those churches for interfering in politics.

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:42am
  11. It’ll be like stripper-tipping. People will scramble to break $20 bills so they can use $1.

    “Father… can you break this FIVE?”

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:42am
  12. My god ain’t broke

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:43am
  13. and to think of how much of that money could have gone to helping with housing and feeding children in the area or toward helping people that do have a home to make needed repairs and what not ..i’m so glad that people will open their wallets/purses to stop us from having equality because it’s “wrong” but they won’t even do what theor own religions says what’s “right”

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:44am
  14. Hey yea! Lets throw all the hate we possibly can at love! Thats the christian thing to do for sure!

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:44am
  15. When will ‘tax exempt’ no longer be afforded to hate groups!!

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:45am
  16. If they are taking up collections to get politicians to pass laws then they are a political lobby not a religious organization. use their own bible to prove it to them. “Ye shall know them by the fruit they bear.” tax them and be done with it.

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:45am
  17. So, they’re going to use a time of being spiritual to change gears and become political….nice.

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:45am
  18. They can take up money. But we are still here. At least they don’t burn us at the stake. :P on them

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:46am
  19. Ok, how about we start taxing the churches then???

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:46am
  20. How many is the issue and how much collected is the second question. That they have to use churches to fund political issues is a bad sign for them. They do not have general public support on this issue.

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:47am
  21. if the bible is the word of god then it would be logical that god chose the person to write the bible the most well known bible is the king james bible, king james was gay.. so what the fuck? almost 20 and i still just don’t understand society

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:47am
  22. churches are all about. Money or they would new holding it out side look at all the rich churches blah I talk to God myself don’t need someone talking to me about God. I know him. Keep out of my private life

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:51am
  23. the pathetic scramble to win ensues… pretty sad when you have to ask for money in a collection plate.

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:51am
  24. Sounds a bit like collecting for the vote which is something that organizations do that are also taxed. Hm….

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:52am
  25. wow and people wonder why i dont like church. i cant believe people…

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:52am
  26. Tax the living shit out of those demon assholes from hell

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:53am
  27. When churches want to get into politics, that dissolves the line of separation between church and state….Ken is bang on, tax the fuckers!

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 10:02am
  28. It’s alright for these fuckers to discriminate openly against gays but say one word about their imaginary friend and they fly off the handle at you. Tax their asses!

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 10:16am
  29. marrige is betwean to pepol how loves ecothear. and i beleave if it was put to a vote marriage equlity will win!

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 10:18am
  30. should be a automatic end to tax exempt status, a secular government will fail, laws should be of logic. keep religion out of politics/government

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 10:20am
  31. better things you could do with your money

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 10:22am
  32. These churches need to start paying their fair share of taxes since they want to play the politics game

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 10:27am
  33. Idiots

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 10:33am
  34. I agree with others that once you cross that line the state can tax you!

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 10:35am
  35. Isn’t it against IRS policies for a religious institution to act in a particular political view?

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 10:43am
  36. Proud to go to a Unitarian Universalist Church….we pass the plate around to help the mentally ill, the financially destitute, and the Cancer ridden. Time for those churches to get taxed.

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 10:45am
  37. when Churches cross the line into politics they should start paying TAXES

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 10:54am
  38. Isn’t this a violation of the tax code?!

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 10:59am
  39. Time to request the IRS revoke their tax exempt status so the “collection” plate becomes taxable income to the churches and the “donations” are no longer deductible by the donor’s on their tax returns.

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 11:04am
  40. As many have said, their tax exemption is so they remain out of politics, so they should start paying their taxes just like the corporations they are.

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 11:15am
  41. ANY reason to make a buck, huh?

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 11:27am
  42. How about collecting for the children that have been molested by clergy and injured for life…….

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 11:37am
  43. You would think they would pass the collection plate around to do what they’re supposed to do. Follow the way of Jesus Christ. In other words…feed the poor and what not, not waste money on politics. Disgusting.

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 11:50am
  44. If they r so political than why do they still benefit from tax exemption?

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 11:58am
  45. IDIOTS

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 12:03pm
  46. I agree with Jake Hamrick. These churches need to loose tax exemption status immediately – and be ordered to pay back taxes retroactive to the date of founding.

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 12:04pm
  47. Why is it that the IRS keeps allowing churches to collect money free of tax and be active in politics on both a state and federal level?

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 12:34pm
  48. They should lose tax free status, in my opinion

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 12:40pm
  49. If they a were true followers they would use that money to help the poor & the sick. They are miserable creatures!

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 1:29pm
  50. Or maybe raise money to help fight hunger in their local community? :/ this is not what a church is supposed to be out….

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 2:20pm
  51. Raise money to pay for bigotry and denying cival rights, that EXACTLY what Jesud would do.

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 5:07pm
  52. time to tax the churches every church that gives money to this should have half of their assets taken by the irs

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 5:58pm
  53. TAX THEM NOW

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 7:26pm
  54. Great example of tolerance…one reason of many I left the Church

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 7:58pm
  55. if this is the case then they need to pay taxes a church is not alowed to be politically active and hold tax exemp statis this is a federal law

    Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 9:36pm
  56. “…fight equality”. What a shameful thing.

    Posted on Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 9:38am
  57. If they could just do the same for real problems such as hunger,illiteracy and helping those who lack health care.

    Posted on Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 9:41am
  58. This is definetly mixing Politics with Religion, and a violation of the Constitution. I’d say they’ve crossed a line and now should be considered a taxable institution!

    Posted on Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 9:53am
  59. Well, it’s a darned good thing they can’t do anything political or they could perhaps hold back progress in some key ways.

    Posted on Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 9:55am
  60. Ugh sickening…loosing battle for them!!

    Posted on Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 10:08am
  61. When churches act as political special interest groups, their tax-exempt status should be revoked.

    Posted on Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 10:16am
  62. horible

    Posted on Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 10:21am
  63. Don’t give the church $

    Posted on Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 10:27am
  64. interesting how its money that is needed to “fight” marriage equality. So are people still foolish enough to believe that the politicians in this country are anything more than well educated whores?

    Posted on Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 10:29am
  65. Umm, that would mean the ‘church’ is participating in politics and clearly a violation of the separation of church and state.

    Posted on Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 1:04pm
  66. These church’s MUST lose their tax exempt status. NOW

    Posted on Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 3:42pm