But some, he hopes, might say to themselves that they "really haven't taken marriage as seriously as we ought to," and will undertake both personal efforts to shore up their relationships and begin to demand that state government act to "stabilize families."
Clearer church-state divide
Reverend Deborah Davis-Johnson, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Portland and a member of Maine's Religious Coalition for Freedom to Marry, thinks the boundary between church and state will continue to become clearer. "Likely people will have separated the religious ceremony of marriage from the legal ceremony," she says. Some of that may come, she suggests, from clergy who, in efforts to treat all couples equally, regardless of sexuality, will eventually decline to sign state-issued marriage licenses, choosing rather to conduct religious marriage ceremonies and send couples to state or local government representatives for the legal certification process.
End to 'marriage control'
Mark Henkel, founder of TruthBearer.org, an Old Orchard Beach-based group promoting "Christian polygamy," says conservatives will continue to object to same-sex marriage, and predicts they will ultimately come around to his perspective: that governmental "marriage control" of any kind should end. "Both sides are redefining marriage," he says, either as one-man-one-woman, or any-two-adults; both, he says, discriminate against polygamists. He hopes government will eventually get entirely out of determining what is or is not a marriage, so long as it is between "unrelated consenting adults."
Betsy Smith, executive director of Equality Maine, a leader in the push for same-sex marriage, is mostly thinking about the referendum fight, which to her is an effort to protect "fairness and equality for all Maine families."
She sees hope as young people, who "don't understand what the big deal is" and quite strongly, as a demographic group, support same-sex marriage, grow into political power that will continue that protection. (She also predicts "a big boost" for Maine's economy in wedding tourism.)
"I don't think it'll be anything anybody's interested in anymore," says Reverend Stephen Carnahan, pastor of the Open House Church in Portland and a member of the Religious Coalition for Freedom to Marry. "Everyone will have found that it doesn't actually cause Armageddon."
While opponents fear "the end of marriage in Maine," he suggests that what they will find is that "even if they still disagree with it, they'll realize that it's not going to destroy things."
'Ongoing cultural divide'
Marc Mutty, the public affairs director for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, expects success for the people's veto effort he is helping to lead, but says it won't be the end of the road, saying gay-rights activists will continue to push for same-sex marriage, in Maine, in other states, and at the federal level. "I expect this to be an ongoing cultural divide for years to come," he says, though he hopes that the people's veto will end most of the political debate, at least for a while. And, for his part, Mutty hints that if the veto fails, there won't be a next step.
Jeff Inglis is pretty disappointed that Michael Heath didn't call back with an answer, like he said he would. Attention Heath and others: Jeff can be reached at email@example.com.
Predictions from Portland's Best Comic and Psychic