UPDATED with MEA statement: Maine Education Association endorses equal marriage
It was announced today that the Maine Education Association (MEA), the union that represents public school teachers throughout the state, has endorsed the ballot question that would allow same-sex couples to marry. Mainers will vote on it in November.
The MEA represents more than 25,000 teaching professionals.
Matt McTighe, the campaign manager for Mainers United, the coalition of over 30 groups working to pass the measure, had this from a press release:
We are grateful for the support of the Maine Education Association and for the organization’s vote to endorse the campaign to allow same-sex couples to receive a marriage license. The MEA is one of the largest and most well-respected organizations in the state, with members in every community. We are proud to welcome them to our coalition.
Update: Chris Galgay, President of the Maine Education Association, had this statement:
Last weekend the MEA’s highest governing body, the Representative Assembly, comprised of grassroots delegates from local associations throughout the state, met in Portland to conduct our annual business meeting.
Without debate, and by voice vote, delegates approved a New Business Item that commits the Association to support the Marriage Equality referendum in the fall; a position that is consistent with our support for equal rights for all and opposition to discrimination in any form.
Our constitution requires the Association to “promote and protect human and civil rights.” MEA has a standing committee on Human and Civil Rights to guide our work and an annual award that honors those who promote diversity, work to eliminate discrimination, encourage tolerance, and display perseverance in achieving human and civil rights goals.
This is a human and civil rights issue for the Association.
MEA knows from history that discrimination existed in Maine in the past against African Americans, Native Americans and other minorities. We know there were prejudices and intolerance against students with special needs or those who “were not like us.”
MEA knows firsthand that discrimination still exists in Maine today. We know that when any group or segment of our society is discriminated against, the children of that group face discrimination in our classrooms.
Whenever one group is singled out and denied the rights of others, it is a form of discrimination. If the law says that all Maine citizens have the right to do X, Y, or Z, and there is a belief or practice that X, Y, or Z should not apply to one group of people – that is discrimination.
MEA is committed to creating a society in which children are not judged by the color of their skin, their religion, their race, their gender, their family background, their sexuality, or their physical or mental challenges – but, instead are judged by the content of their character and their worth as human beings.