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Maine becomes 5th U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage

LGBT community wins consecutive victories

The struggle for equal marriage rights has recently won two consecutive victories in the District of Colombia and Maine.

On May 5, the D.C. Council voted overwhelmingly for a resolution that will recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Mayor Adrian Fenty signed the resolution within days. It now sits before the U.S. Congress, awaiting final approval.

On May 6, the Maine Senate passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. Gov. John Baldacci signed the bill into law later that day. Maine joins Vermont, Iowa, Massachusetts and Connecticut as the fifth state with a marriage equality law.

Another bill legalizing same-sex marriage is awaiting signature in New Hampshire, after the State Senate passed it May 6.

While these victories are encouraging, the battle is far from over. Already, reactionary forces around the country are mobilizing to defeat the two measures. In Maine, putting the bill to a referendum would require 55,000 signatures.

The corporate media would like to have us believe that this is another act of a benevolent government that acts in the interests of "the people." Working and oppressed people can see that this is blatant propaganda. The legalization and recognition of same-sex marriage has been won through the dedicated and militant struggle of LGBT people against oppression and discrimination.

The systematic oppression of LGBT people has long been used as a tactic in the capitalist’s divide-and-conquer playbook. By dividing the working class and pitting workers of one community against another, the ruling class seeks to prevent us from fighting our true enemy: the capitalist system.

The leadership of the Democratic and Republican parties opposes full marriage equality, like they opposed gender equality and racial equality previously.

President Barack Obama, like many other capitalist politicians, has stated that he supports "civil unions" for LGBT people, using logic similar to the "separate-but-equal" rationale that upheld racial segregation in public schools.

When asked what the president’s position on the Maine ruling was, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that "the [p]resident believes this is an issue that’s best addressed by states," completely sidestepping the issue. On April 7, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that this issue, which affects millions of Americans, was not a priority for the Democrats. These statements expose the Democrats as a party of big capitalists, whose main interest is ensuring the wheels of the Pentagon and Wall Street stay greased.

Fortunately, it is not sessions in the halls of Congress or in the White House that will determine the outcome of this struggle. LGBT people will secure these victories and advance the struggle for full equality by the force of the struggle, in the streets and everywhere necessary.

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