Alicia PhD

Alicia PhD
New Hampshire, United States
September 08
Alicia has a PhD in Experimental Pathology and, after having worked in a genetics lab for her dissertation, now edits scientific manuscripts full-time from the comfort of the White Mountains. Alicia is also a writer, contributing health commentary and articles on disease and anatomy to many online publishers. She upkeeps a number of blogs devoted to her interests in public health and science.


Editor’s Pick
MAY 6, 2009 3:04PM

Gay Marriage in Maine

Rate: 21 Flag


Wedding Bands


I don't always stick to health and science topics. One area of my interest lately has been the gay marriage debate.

Maine is the 5th state to legalize gay marriage. Hopefully New Hampshire will follow shortly. Although our governor may hold out. The letters written to the editor of the local newspapers have been savage. The hostility "people of faith" have towards homosexuals is astonishing. What happened to the love? You know, the basis of christianity. The "christian" attitudes of the anti-marriage activists are not what I was taught in church and it is not the christianity my mother or in-laws practice (different forms of protestantism represented). It's hypocrisy shining through.

I think it's an invasion of privacy and discrimination to not allow gays to form legal relationships with the person of their choice. To hold a word (marriage) hostage for a select group is bias to one's own personal choices and lifestyle. Noone is forcing churches to marry people, it's allowing them the full civil rights of any other couple (including being able to call it a marriage). The majority is suppressing a minority, and it's wrong.

I'll continue to argue for the right of gays to marry the same as I fight for my right to not marry. Marriage is what exists between two people, regardless of government or church decree. The anti-marriage groups don't realize that they aren't preventing those unions, they're simply showing their discriminating colors.

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How bold of you! And how bold of Maine! Good for them: you're also right, New Hampshire's governor is an obstacle. But a simple one. As long as his states people have got it right, he will follow suit. He has to or he'll be out of a job.
As goes Vermont, so goes Maine. I'm sorry - I always wanted to say that. Yay Maine.
go Maine, and pretty much OS in general. You all are good people.
What neilpaul said. Not that I'm a straight man, nor married, nor in Massachusetts. But I am in Canada, which has had gay marriage for a while, and I don't even hear any squawks from the religionists who feel compelled to mind other people's business.
Now here is an example of the principle of Brandeis that the Several States are laboratories. Let the Several States decide, and finesse the Full Faith and Credit Issues that come from the Privileges and Immunities with the traditional home state doctrine for divorce, and you have a reasonable Federalist solution to the issue.
The right to choose is a precious one...
Alternate headline: 45 states commingle church and state.
Thank you so much Maine!
Hooray for Maine! And for the states that legalized gay marriage before. I agree with you about the hypocrisy of the christian right with their hostilities. I hope the rest of the states follow suit.
Little by little huh? As soon as we get that 26th state to tip and have a majority our secret plan to undermine heterosexual marriage vows will be revealed when we...when we... well that's the part I've never understood. But if any of you other gays knows- someone forgot to tell me.
I don't see it as hypocrisy, merely fear, and delusion. The record is clear that there's no consensus what belief set constitutes Christianity. There wouldn't be hundreds of different little subgroups if there was any unity. For Baptists, each man constitutes his own church, a sort of ultimate in fragmentation.

One self-described Christian may go with love God and love your neighbor as yourself, another with tell the women to shut up and stone the disobedient to death. It's all Christian and quite evidently just dandy.
Very proud of Maine, and optimistic that this will have a domino effect throughout New England. It's going to be harder and harder for states to withstand the legal challenges. Law first, culture next.
lets hope california follows suit!

and i think dave edgar just articulated the brilliance of the separation of church and state. i am totally happy acknowledging that i can't see christ, so i don't know who, if anyone, is following him well... but our laws should be for everyone, not just the privileged few who have a relationship with an invisible dude. i envy that certainty, but i don't think anyone should have to defer to it.
tregibbs, I can't for the life of me see how you can derive any sort of 'true' Christianity from the behavior and stands taken by avowed Christians. There seems to be no limit at all. You're one of a handful I've ever heard who raise even a peep at Christian excesses by impugning their Christianity. They call themselves fundamentalists, for example, but no church leaders call bullshit on them, saying those are not the foundational elements of Christianity. I always suspect a Christian who doesn't go with the sermon on the mount, myself, since I always thought of it as fairly central, but fundamentalists don't use it for much, and hardly anyone calls them on it. I think the gay-haters and woman-oppressors are perfectly sincere in their hatred, fear, and opposition, far from hypocritical. If there are Christians out there who believe Christ taught otherwise, isn't it hypocrisy to let what the fundies are doing stand?
Dr. Alicia,
I too am confounded by the special disdain that many "people of faith" hold towards GLBTQ individuals (especially involving gay marriage and the whole controversy over hate crimes legislation). Don't they see how they distort the same "God" they claim to defend and hope to draw people towards? But I admit that there was a time when I feel into such a mental trap--consumed by my own prejudice and disgust for what I thought was an unnatural abomination and what I was taught as a threat to the sanctity of marriage. Now, such talk strikes me as bullshit used to mask prejudice and justify discrimination towards individuals that we do not understand. Why this is the mobilizing issue for so many Christians is very telling--not of the state of the world--but of the condition of their own hearts. Especially when there are so many other issues to champion and threats to worry about.

I especially like how you phrase it when you say: "The hostility 'people of faith' have towards homosexuals is astonishing...I think it's an invasion of privacy and discrimination to not allow gays to form legal relationships with the person of their choice. To hold a word (marriage) hostage for a select group is bias to one's own personal choices and lifestyle. Noone is forcing churches to marry people, it's allowing them the full civil rights of any other couple (including being able to call it a marriage). The majority is suppressing a minority, and it's wrong."

I couldn't agree more! Rated!
Wonderful news! Yay, Maine!

(And Tijo - shhhh! You're supposed to keep the Big Plan a secret!)
How can you agree with someone and then find the one sticking point that is a deal breaker.

Marriage is a religious term that has become a common term. I fully support people same sex people and their desire to have a legal union with all the rights and responsibilities that my wife and I have. It just needs a different name.

Frankly, I think even the state needs to drop the term marriage. It belongs to the church, not the state. I think you should go and get the license from the state and get the union done where ever you want. I can go to the church and have a marriage or where ever and get a what ever.
Thanks for coming by and commenting everyone!

Churchgoing agnostic - I was a very self-righteous child/teen, but I can't remember what my stance on homosexuality was, I think it was one of those things I wasn't always sure about. Then I realized that I knew gay people - and that they just want to be loved too :) Besides, the definition of fair shouldn't have asterisks!

Dave Edgar - you're right about the different groups, and tregibbs nailed my understanding of it all. I don't associate with any particular religion today, but when I was younger I was Missouri Synod Lutheran and I continue to follow the scholarly interpretations of philosophies (such as christianity) and today's mainstream offshoots have completely missed the mark.

People manipulate history to suit their goals - "marriage is a holy union historically between a man and a woman" Ummm no. Didn't they used to buy brides at the behest of the King? "Christianity has always been against or for x" lol yeah, no. Christianity changes based on the mood of its leaders "Being gay is wrong but diddling little kids is a-o-k!" The lack of education in some of these respects (or willful ignorance, or a short memory perhaps) is astonishing.
catnlion - "marriage" does NOT "belong to the church" And which church would it be anyway? If the word is so important, then they need to change it for everyone, or else it's discrimination. Why force a reminder on certain groups that they're "different"

"Oh I can't get married, I have to be unioned" If they find a church willing to do it (Episcopal!!) then what do they do? According to you they can get married...but I don't think that's where you were going with it.
Alicia PhD

If I'm wrong correct me. That's how we learn and grow.

Didn't "marriage" start from the churches? If not where did the word and concept start?

""Oh I can't get married, I have to be unioned" If they find a church willing to do it (Episcopal!!) then what do they do? According to you they can get married...but I don't think that's where you were going with it."

This coming from someone who spent several years as an alter boy in a small Episcopal church, I don't care where you get it done or call it. I would just as happy being "unionized" with my wife. Wouldn't bother me a bit. The state doesn't need to be in the marriage, or any church, business. The need to be just like the DMV and give you a license, and not call it anything.

I have a problem with people who want to do something important but won't do it or object to it because they don't like what word is or isn't being used. Is the fight over having the right to do they things that married couples now do, or is the right secondary to being able to call it marriage? If you read the postings here, nobody cares about what they are able to do, just what they can call it.

My ex calls her SO her "wife". I don't care. I like her. She doesn't care much for me, not that it makes a difference to any of us. I just make sure that when I talk to my ex I call her at work or someplace where it doesn't look like I'm rubbing her SO's nose in it.

Be careful of words. What would you do if the KKK found a use for the word "gay" and started pushing it, or the people on the Greek island of Lesvos wanted their name back?
catnlion, marriage predates Christianity. The English word comes from various Latin terms. "marry" was actually a term for a common oath in the middle ages.

Here is a history of the business arrangement that marriage was before the church took and made it holy between a man and woman
and that's only Western Civilization. In many other older cultures marriage was used to appease the gods, including marriages to animals (this still happens in villages in Asia, it makes the news).

I agree that the government and churches should be separate issues, but the church does not own marriage, it never has. It simply claimed it as its own when it redefined it through its influence in the middle ages. Churches shouldn't be forced to perform ceremonies, but the government holds all marriage licensing abilities and shouldn't withhold that (in name or otherwise) from any adult citizen.
Alicia PhD

I'll follow up on your link in the coming days. Right now I only have time to check your reply.

Would you care to make a comment on the importance of the rights vs. the use of the word? To me, it seems the word is #1 and the rights that come with it fall down the list someplace.

catnlion, I used to think it was simply about the rights, that civil unions should be enough - but in the past year or so I've come to realize how important a word can be. I think those fighting for gay marriage rights are wanting equality, not equal but separate. It sounds awfully familiar to the separatist movements of the 60s.

I look at it that my bf and I are married in our hearts, but we can't call each other husband and wife because those words impose something that means legal ceremonies and such. (which to us is fine, I've never put much emphasis on labels - but I understand that it means something to others and I would stand up for their right to claim them) and though this is different from the gay marriage issue, it's what gives me a perspective on what it is others are trying for.

It's about equality and not letting one group suppress another based on their own definitions.